StatoilHydro Steps Up Exploration, Plans for 70 Wells

StatoilHydro's 2008 exploration program will be the biggest in the group's history. More than 70 exploration wells are due to be drilled and several discoveries have already been made.

StatoilHydro's exploration results, both on the NCS and internationally, are already a success, with 17 hits so far this year -- including four outside Norway.

"What we’re seeing today isn't a result of the merger, but of many years of work by both former companies," emphasized Bill Maloney, head of global exploration for International Exploration & Production (INT).

Record number of finds

Twelve discoveries during the first five months represent a record for StatoilHydro. Many have been made close to existing infrastructure, and can be brought quickly on stream.

Resources have also been proven in relatively unexplored waters, such as Obesum in the Barents Sea. This is the first of five wells due to be drilled in frontier areas.

"The Obesum discovery is exciting," said Tim Dodson, senior VP for exploration on the Norwegian continental shelf. "And we're confident of finding further deposits in this part of the NCS."

Although many finds have been made, a number are small. The group hopes to secure new and attractive exploration acreage in the near future.


StatoilHydro plans to drill 70 exploration wells this year at a cost of NOK 18 billion -- the most extensive annual program in the group's history.

"We have the confidence and support of top management,” said Dodson. "That makes it possible for us to spend money on exploration." However, the firm reiterates that it maintains a high level of selectivity in the prospects it chooses to pursue.

"We’ve undoubtedly become increasingly critical about where we drill,” Dodson said. "Priorities must constantly be set, and decisions taken on which areas we’re going to enter and which prospects are to be drilled. These will hopefully lay the basis for our future growth."