NORWAY’S national oil company Statoil has been awarded a 1.3 million hectare exploration permit in the North West Shelf, taking the number of its Australian assets to three.

The WA-506-P exploration permit is more than 300 kilometres offshore in water depths of between 1,500 metres and 2,000 metres.

Statoil senior vice president for exploration in the Eastern Hemisphere Erling Vågnes said the permit was an untested part of a prolific basin, offering significant upside potential.

“This award adds another large acreage position with high-impact potential to our global portfolio, in line with our exploration strategy,” he said.

Statoil has committed to collect 2,000 line kilometres of 2D seismic and 3,500 square kilometres of 3D seismic data within three years.

Based on analysis of this information, Statoil will decide which further steps it will take.