STATOIL is planning to step up its search for oil and gas in the Barents Sea in 2017 after strengthening its position in the area through several transactions with other companies.

“We have worked systematically on developing an exploration portfolio for testing good and independent prospects in 2017 and 2018,” tatoil’s head of exploration on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS), Jez Averty, stated recently.

“For 2017 we see promising prospects in different parts of the Barents Sea. For example, we want to explore the Blåmann prospect in the Goliat area, Koigen Central in PL718 on Stappen High and the Korpfjell prospect in PL859 that was awarded in the 23rd licensing round,” Mr Averty said.

Statoil reported recently that in addition to an exploration well in PL849 (Blåmann), awarded in the Award in Predefined Areas (APA) in January 2016, Statoil and the operator ENI have also agreed on drilling a new exploration well in PL229 (Goliat) in 2017. Statoil has already a rig on contract which is suitable for operation in the Barents Sea. The company is working on obtaining approval from partners and authorities for an exploration campaign in 2017 covering between 5 and 7 wells in the Barents Sea.

In recent months Statoil has entered or increased its share in five licences in the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea by a number of agreements with Point Resources, DEA, OMV and ConocoPhillips.

“Giving us access to new acreage, the transactions demonstrate our belief in continued exploration potential on the NCS.

We have played a leading role in the Barents Sea for 40 years, and we are still a guarantee for high activity in the area,” MrAverty said.

“Through these agreements we are strongly increasing our presence in the Hoop area, we are fortifying our position around Johan Castberg, and we see new opportunities in the southwestern part of the Barents Sea.”

According to Statoil,  the Barents Sea Exploration Collaboration (BaSEC) has formed a good basis for the industry to carry out safe and consistent drilling operations.

The company also pointed to the industry’s joint seismic data gathering in 2014 as a further demonstration of its will and ability to solve common issues efficiently while taking into account other interests in the same areas.