Statoil will have a 50% interest in the Banarli licences, while the operator Valeura Energy Inc., a Canadian exploration company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange will keep the remaining 50%. The shallow formations above 2,500 meters will be 100% retained by Valeura.
The work programme in the licences consists of several phases, where the first includes the commitment of drilling one exploration well, with planned spudding late 2016 or early 2017. The exploration phase will test unconventional gas potential in the deep parts of the basin.
The exploration licenses cover an area of approximately 540 km2 in proximity to existing infrastructure in a region where gas has been produced since the 1920s.
The agreement is pending governmental approval, which is expected by the end of September 2016.