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Statoil has struck oil in the outer Moray Firth on the UK Continental Shelf in the North Sea, with preliminary results suggesting the discovery could range anywhere from 25 million to 130 million barrels of oil, the Norwegian oil and gas major said on Monday.
Statoil, operator of the Verbier area with a 70-percent interest, and its minority partners Jersey Oil and Gas with 18 percent and CIECO V&C (UK) Limited with 12 percent, made the oil discovery in the Verbier sidetrack well, proving a minimum of 25 million recoverable barrels of oil in the immediate vicinity of the wellbore.
“The results show that we made the right decision to sidetrack the well and this discovery proves that there could be significant remaining potential in this mature basin,” Jenny Morris, vice president for Exploration in the UK, said in Statoil’s statement.
“This is an encouraging result for Statoil and the UK team. We have proven oil in good quality sands with good reservoir properties, but significant work remains, most likely including appraisal, to clarify the recoverable volumes and to refine this range,” Jez Averty, senior vice president Exploration in Norway and the UK, noted.
Statoil began in July a three-well exploration drilling campaign on the UK continental shelf.
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“Whilst the results of the other two exploration wells were disappointing, we are convinced of the remaining, high-value potential on the UK continental shelf and the Verbier result certainly gives us the confidence and determination to continue our exploration efforts,” Morris said today.
Despite the fact that overall, exploration activity in the North Sea is currently at its lowest since the 1970s, North Sea leaders BP and Shell said last month that the industry avoided a “death spiral” in the basin, and things are now looking up after the worst of the downturn.
In addition, private equity has renewed its appetite for oil and gas investments in the North Sea, according to a recent report by Wood Mackenzie.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.