Statoil discovered more Barents oil, but not enough

Drilling for oil in the Barents Sea.

Out of five wells drilled in the Johan Castberg area only two have resulted in oil discoveries.


Concluding the exploration program around the Johan Castberg field, Statoil announced Friday the discovery of some 44 to 63 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalent, out of which 42 to 54 million barrels of oil.

The prospect, named Drivis, was the last of five wells drilled in the Johan Castberg area over the last 12 months. The aim of the exploration campaign was to clarify additional oil potential and make the development project more robust.  The main discovery was made in April 2011. 

”We are certainly glad to have an oil discovery in Drivis. However, the exploration program as a whole has not delivered on volume expectations. Out of the five wells drilled only two have resulted in oil discoveries,” says Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil senior vice president for exploration on the Norwegian continental shelf.

Statoil is operator for the production licence with an ownership share of 50 percent. Partners are Eni Norge AS (30 percent) and Petoro AS (20 percent).

“We will now work closely with our licence partners to analyse the findings of the exploration program and what those mean for the Johan Castberg development project,” says Erik Strand Tellefsen, Statoil vice president for field development northern Norway.

Preliminary volume for the total area estimates are in the range of 400 to 600 million barrels of oil.

Statoil first planned to bring oil from Johan Castberg field ashore by pipline to Veidnes near North Cape in Finnmark. The company has, however, later on expressed a more reluctant interest in bringing the oil onshore, before shipping it to customers, arguing that such a solution would simply be one size too big for Statoil.