Statoil ASA has confirmed that it has discovered natural gas in the Barents Sea off the Norwegian coast. The company is working in partnership with Russian state-controlled oil and gas company Rosneft.
A spokesperson from North Energy ASA, one of the Pingvin prospect partners, said that the drilling well had discovered natural gas located in a sandstone reservoir. No estimates on the amount of gas have yet been shared, but the company has said that further details will be provided following analysis.
The news is positive for the partnership and the Pingvin well project, following earlier and more disappointing exploratory results in the Barents Sea for Statoil over the past eighteen months. The company has failed to match the successes of its oil finds at Havis and Skrugard in 2011/12. The company, based in Stavanger, has made no other commercial-grade finds within its exploration campaign in the northernmost offshore region of Norway this year.
Additionally, a twelve-month campaign in May that cost $3 billion USD also failed to discover adequate oil to prevent further delay to the Johan Castberg project, comprising Havis and Skrugard. The discoveries may yet prove to hold up to 600 million barrels of oil, but Statoil has deferred the concept choice to 2015 whilst it seeks out routes to profitability for the project within a context of elevated taxes and costs.
Rosneft took on a stake in the Pingvin well in 2013. The company is the subject of ongoing sanctions from both the EU and the USA, due to Russia’s role in the ongoing Ukrainian conflict. Rosneft and Statoil signed a joint cooperation agreement in 2012 which included Russian projects.
The Pingvin well hasn’t been entirely without problems, being held up earlier in September by Greenpeace, who believe the operation to be too near to the nature reserve on Bear Island, as well as the polar ice cap.Last updated on 07:40PM - 24/09/14