Statoil makes big oil discovery at Aldous Major South in the Norwegian North Sea

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Norwegian major Statoil (NYSE:STO) has made a high-impact oil discovery at its Aldous Major South prospect in the Norwegian North Sea.

The Transocean Leader semisubmersible drilled exploration well 16/2-8 on Production License 265, transecting a 65-meter oil column in the Jurassic sandstone. Data acquired from the well confirms that the reservoir has excellent qualities.

Initial size estimates for Aldous Major South range from 200 to 400 million barrels of oil equivalent, and Statoil expects additional upside from the license both north and south of the discovery.

Aldous Major South is located west of the Lundin-operated (TSX:LUP) Avaldsnes discovery on Production License 501, where Statoil also holds a 40 percent stake, as well as 35 kilometers south of the Statoil-operated Grane field.

The discovery well portrays the same oil-water contacts as in the Avaldsnes discovery, which indicates a possibility of communication between the two structures. 

“Aldous Major South is a considerable oil discovery in one of Statoil’s core areas," said Gro Haatvedt, senior vice president for exploration on the Norwegian Continental Shelf for Statoil. "Together with the Avaldsnes discovery this may allow for a new stand-alone development in the North Sea."

Ongoing drilling at Avaldsnes (16/2-7) will help to further define the area's potential.

After completing the discovery well, the Transocean Leader will spud the Aldous Major North well, where Statoil sees great potential for additional large volumes of hydrocarbons.

Project partners plan to drill two appraisal wells in PL 265 in 2012, a drilling campaign for which Statoil has already secured a rig.

Statoil serves as operator of Production License 265 with 40 percent interest. Project partners include Petoro with 30 percent, Det norske Oljeselskap with 20 percent and Lundin with 10 percent.

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