Statoil in major oil find off Newfoundland coast

Statoil, the Norwegian oil major, has made its largest discovery outside of Norway with a big oil find in the Bay du Nord off the coast of Newfoundland. Tim Dodson, Statoil’s head of exploration, said it affirmed the company’s reputation for exploration success. “Year-to-date we are the company that’s found the most volumes this year,” he said.

Statoil said Bay du Nord, which is about 500km from St John’s, Newfoundland, contained 300m-600m barrels of recoverable oil. It is the third discovery Statoil has made in recent years in the so-called Flemish Pass Basin, an area where it owns licences stretching across 8,500 square kilometres. The others are Mizzen – which was found in 2009 and is estimated to contain 100m-200m barrels – and Harpoon, which is still being evaluated. Mr Dodson said that because of their proximity, the three could be combined into a single project. “It would be natural to think along the lines of some kind of co-ordinated development,” he said.

Citigroup said in a research note that the discoveries would likely benefit from the infrastructure in place for other big fields in the area, such as Hebron and Hiberia, which is operated by ExxonMobil. Statoil said it expected to return to the fields in 2015 with more wells. Mr Dodson said the company saw “upside on the Bay du Nord structure and other structures”. The company said Flemish Pass “has the potential to become a core producing area stretch for Statoil post-2020”.

Once tightly focused on Norway, Statoil now has a big international presence. It has made a number of high-impact discoveries in Tanzania and the Norwegian Sea in recent years. The company has said it wants to increase production by a quarter to 2.5m barrels a day by 2020.

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