According to Statoil, the Skavl prospect includes up to 50 million barrels of extractable resources. The well drilled by the rig West Hercules is located only few kilometers from the Johan Castberg and Havis structures in the Barents Sea.
The new project includes modest volumes of oil, but could still increase the likelihood of a major field development in the area. After finding the Castberg and Havis fields in 2011, Statoil announced that a major breakthrough had been made in the Barents Sea, calling the fields in “the most important discoveries on the Norwegian shelf over the last ten years”.
However, the euphoria surrounding the Castberg and Havis fields soon silenced as Statoil in May this year announced that it was postponing its decision on preferred field concept development. According to the company, new Norwegian tax regulations were making field development in the area less profitable. Several analysts say to newspaper DN.no that the key issue for the company will be whether or not to bring the oil to land-based facilities.
“It is positive that we have proven additional resources in the Johan Castberg area, Gro G. Haatvedt, Statoil’s senior vice president for exploration on the Norwegian continental shelf, says in a press release. “We will now consider whether the discovery can be included in the Johan Castberg field development”, she adds.
At the same time Erik Strand Tellefsen, Statoil’s Statoil’s vice president for field development in northern Norway, underlines that “changes in the tax framework has made the project more challenging”.
The chances of a Castberg field development will increase additionally if Statoil makes additional discoveries in the area. Already this month, the company will conduct another drilling operation. The Kramsnø prospect is located 16 kilometres north of Skavl and will be Statoil’s last of four prospects scheduled for 2013. The exploration efforts around Johan Castberg will continue also in 2014.
Statoil is operator for production licence PL532 with an ownership share of 50 percent. The licence partners are Eni Norge AS (30%) and Petoro AS (20%).