No Big Oil for Statoil in Barents

The rig West Hercules drilling for Statoil in the Barents Sea.

Commemorative drilling No. 100 for Statoil in the Barents Sea was nothing else than a big disappointment. Hoping for oil, the result was a tiny non-commercial gas discovery.


Norwegian oil major Statoil was hopeful to find either oil or gas when the rig “West Hercules” started to drill the Nunatak well in early June. For Statoil, this very drilling was No. 100 in the western part of the Barents Sea. High time to find Big Oil. The Nunatak well could prove additional resources around the Johan Castberg field, Statoil’s so far only discovery in the Barents Sea large enough to exploit. Or, at least large enough until some few weeks ago when Statoil decided to put off the development of Johan Castberg field for the time being. 

Located some 240 kilometers north of Hammerfest in Finnmark, Johan Castberg is the new name of the field formerly known as Skrugard and Havis. If developed, the field will be the Arctic’s northernmost offshore oil-field.

Now, Statoil announces that commemorative drilling No. 100 became nothing to celebrate.  The rig encountered gas in rocks, but “based on the present evaluation the discovery is considered non-commercial,” Statoil says in a statement.

Gro G. Haatvedt is Senior Vice President for Statoil’s exploration Norway.

“Whilst it is disappointing to find only gas in Nunatak, we believe in further oil potential in the Johan Castberg area”, says Gro. G Haatvedt. 

Another three wells in the vicinity of Johan Castberg field will be drilled during 2013 with the aim of proving additional volumes for the  field development project.