Analysis: StatoilHydro Strong in Norway & Growing Globally

The largest petroleum company in Norway, StatoilHydro currently boasts proven reserves of some 6 billion barrels of oil equivalent. With production reaching 1.7 MMboe daily, the upstream oil and gas company currently serves as operator on 39 fields.

The leading operator on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, StatoilHydro has typically conducted exploration and development operations in Norwegian waters. StatoilHydro serves as the operator of the completely subsea development Snohvit, the world's first production achieved from the arctic Barents Sea. A production hub with numerous satellite fields, Gullfaks is operated by the company, as well. Having started production in July, the StatoilHydro-operated Tyrihans subsea development is the largest project coming on-stream for the company this year with a plateau of 96,000 boepd expected.

Currently under development, the Skarv/Idun oil and gas development in the Norwegian Sea is also operated by StatoilHydro. Being developed via five subsea templates and an FPSO, the project is expected to commence production by the third quarter of 2011. Also, the Gjoa project in the Norwegian North Sea is expected to commence production by September 2010. Operated by StatoilHydro, Gjoa is the largest development project on the Norwegian Continental Shelf today, requiring an investment of approximately $4.7 billion.

Contracted Rigs

With 16 mobile offshore rigs contracted, StatoilHydro currently employs a fleet of two jackups and 14 semisubs -- all working in the waters offshore Norway.

While similarly sized companies are on par with the number of rigs contracted by StatoilHydro, they do portray a more international strategy. Italian major ENI currently employs 12 offshore rigs in nine different countries, and BP has 14 rigs contracted, working in six different countries.

Songa Trym
Songa Trym, StatoilHydro

Most of the rigs are mid-water floaters, but some boast deepwater capabilities. With an average dayrate of nearly $400,000, the company is currently paying the Songa Trym semisub the most at $475,000 a day. Having been contracted by the company since 2005 for work on the Troll license, the contract was extended in 2008 through 2011 for continuing work on the field.

Transocean's Polar Pioneer
Transocean's Polar Pioneer

The only new contract signed this year, StatoilHydro signed Seadrill's West Venture semisub to a one-year contract in February that commenced this month. Also recently starting contracts with the company, the Polar Pioneer, Aker Spitsbergen and Deepsea Atlantic semisubs commenced working for StatoilHydro within the last two weeks.

International Expansion

With a concentrated focus on Norwegian assets, StatoilHydro is aiming to expand internationally and presently has an established presence in 40 countries worldwide. While the company does not currently employ any rigs outside the North Sea, it has in the past and will again soon.

In the past five years, StatoilHydro and the original companies prior to the 2007 merger have employed 17 offshore rigs, including jackups, semisubs and a submersible, in international waters. The majority of these rigs were in US Gulf of Mexico, where Norsk Hydro contracted nine shallow-water rigs for work primarily in the High Island area.

StatoilHydro has also conducted drilling operations offshore China, Iran, Canada and Venezuela in the last five years. Two rigs worked for Statoil between 2004 and 2005 in China, and two jackups were employed by the company offshore Iran, which encompassed work on the South Pars field. Venezuelan drilling was conducted by Transocean's Sovereign Explorer semisub for Statoil from the start of 2005 though the end of 2007.

With interest in 448 active leases in the US GOM, the company is making strides to enhance its presence in the area. In addition to aggressive bidding in US GOM lease sales, the company recently signed an agreement with BHP Billiton to acquire a 40% stake in 50 of its DeSoto Canyon-area blocks in the eastern US GOM.

With non-operated interest in both the Tahiti and Thunder Hawk developments, which recently started producing, the company has doubled its production from the area in the last three months.

Additionally, StatoilHydro plans a drilling program for the US GOM this fall with two ultra-deepwater rigs starting work for the company. Both the Maersk Developer semisub and the Discoverer Americas drillship will soon commence contracts with StatoilHydro.

DSS 21
DSS 21

With a water depth rating of 10,000 feet, the Maersk Developer is contracted to StatoilHydro from September 2009 through October 2012 at a dayrate of $476,000. Initially, the semisub is scheduled to commence drilling a second well on the Tucker prospect in the ultra-deepwaters of Walker Ridge 543 and 544.

Discoverer Americas
Discoverer Americas

The only drillship in the lineup, the Transocean's Discoverer Americas is scheduled to commence a four-year contract with StatoilHydro in October 2009. With a water depth rating of 12,000 feet, the drillship is earning a dayrate of $475,000.

Henry Goodrich
Henry Goodrich, StatoilHydro

Other areas of interest include the waters offshore Canada. StatoilHydro recently discovered hydrocarbons at the deepwater Mizzen prospect offshore Newfoundland and Labrador with the Henry Goodrich semisub. The discovery was the first company-operated well to be drilled by StatoilHydro in Canada, and the rig is currently farmed out to PetroCanada.

Also, the Norwegian firm is currently developing the Peregrino oil field offshore Brazil in the southern Campos Basin. Held wholly by StatoilHydro, the field is being developed via two wellhead drilling platforms, an FPSO and 60 subsea wells. Scheduled to commence production in early 2011, the field is expected to produce some 100,000 bopd at plateau.

In StatoilHydro's most recent quarterly report exploration was credited as "the primary tool for growing our business." In an effort to boost reserves, the company committed $1.5 billion to exploration in the first half of 2009. So far this year, the company has completed drilling 48 wells, 30 of which were discoveries. In total, StatoilHydro plans 70 exploration and appraisal wells for the year with a budget of $2.7 billion.