STATOIL announced the licensees in the John Castberg and Snorre 2040 license have decided to delay work on the projects in order to cut costs.

Statoil said the Johan Castberg partnership has decided to postpone the decision to continue the so-called DG2 until the second half of 2016, with expectations for an investment decision in 2017.

The Johan Castberg licence has achieved significant cost reductions in recent years, but the companies see further potential to reduce costs, Statoil said.

Statoil senior vice president for field development on the NCS, Ivar Aasheim, said the group had made significant progress in reducing costs for Johan Castberg.

“However, current challenges in relation to costs and oil prices require us to spend more time to ensure that we extract the full benefit of the implemented measures.”

Studies are continuing on the alternatives for oil infrastructure in the Barents Sea by a group of operators in the area including Statoil, Lundin Norway, Eni and OMV, Statoil said.

“Castberg and Snorre 2040 are two major and important projects in our portfolio, and it is important that we find sound and robust development solutions for them,” Mr Aasheim said.

Statoil said the Snorre partnership also decided to extend the progress plan for Snorre 2040, with the new schedule for the preliminary decision to implement is the fourth quarter of 2016.

While systematic work had taken place over several years to find the right solution for this project, the conclusion is that more time was needed for the owners to reduce investment costs and improve the understanding of the reservoir, the company said.

Statoil said the licensees had an ambition to increase the recovery rate on the Snorre field.

The existing infrastructure has a given technical lifespan and this will be decisive in the planning of increased oil recovery measures, the company said.

The selected concept to construct a new platform, Snorre C, forms the basis of the work leading up to a new time for the decision point, which is the fourth quarter of 2016.

A final investment decision is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2017, with production to start in the fourth quarter of 2022, Statoil said.

Reserves in the Snorre field are currently estimated at 1.63 billion barrels of oil.

Statoil said the original estimate, when the plan for development and operation was submitted in 1989, was around 760 million barrels of oil.