Statoil makes 'significant' oil discovery with Skrugard in the Barents Sea

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Statoil (NYSE:STO) has made a significant oil discovery with its Skrugard prospect in the Arctic waters of the Barents Sea. According to the Norwegian producer, Skrugard “is one of the most important finds on the Norwegian Continental Shelf in the last decade.” 

Drilled by Transocean’s (NYSE:RIG) Polar Pioneer semisub rated harsh environments, the Skrugard discovery well has proven a gas column measuring 33 meters and an oil column measuring 90 meters. The oil is expected to be easily producible. 

“The Skrugard find is significant and a break-through for frontier exploration in the Barents Sea. This opens a new oil province that can provide additional resource growth,” said Tim Dodson, executive vice president for Exploration in Statoil. 

New Barents Sea Development 

Initial estimates of the volume of the Skrugard discovery are between 150-250 million recoverable barrels of oil equivalent with a further upside potential on the license of another 250 million barrels, for a total of 500 million barrels of oil equivalent. 

“If the volume estimates are confirmed, then this discovery could provide a basis for an independent development,” said Dodson. “Given that it takes between five to 10 years from discovery to production, we are planning for the future now. Our ambition is to put this find into production as quickly as possible.” 

Located on license 532 about 200 kilometers from Ingoya in Masoy municipality in Finnmark, as well as 210 kilometers to Bear Island, the Skurgard discovery is situated in 370 meters of water. The Skrugard discovery well, 7220/8-1, encountered hydrocarbons at approximately 1,250 meters below the surface in the Bear Island fault zone. 

Drilling and data collection is ongoing at Skrugard. Core samples have been taken to better understand reservoir properties. 

Future plans include both drilling a new prospect in the same license in 2012, as well as possible appraisal drilling at Skrugard. 

Barents Sea 

Just over 80 wells have been drilled in the Arctic waters of the Barents Sea, and Statoil has been the operator for more than 60 of those wells. 

Currently the only development currently producing in the Barents Sea is Statoil’s Snohvit natural gas field, and Eni (NYSE:E) is currently working to develop its Goliat field. Skrugard is located about 100 kilometers north of the Snohvit field. 

“The Barents Sea is large, and we cannot say that we have cracked the code for the entire area yet. But we have confirmed that our exploration model is correct. This is a break-through, and an important step in understanding how the geology – and thus the hydrocarbon systems in the Barents Sea – works,” said Dodson. 

The Skrugard well proved oil in the Bear Island fault zone, which is more north than the Hammerfest Basin, which is where the Goliat and Snohvit fields are located. 

Statoil serves as the operator of license 532 with 50 percent interest. Project partners include Eni with 30 percent and Petoro with 20 percent.

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