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Centrica, Suncor, Faroe Strike Oil in Norwegian North Sea

Oct. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Centrica Plc, the U.K.’s largest gas supplier, and its partners discovered oil in the Norwegian North Sea in the Butch prospect near the Ula field.

An exploration well encountered about 50 meters (164 feet) of oil in the upper Jurassic reservoir of the Ula formation and no water was penetrated, Faroe Petroleum Plc, a 15 percent stakeholder in the well, said in a statement in London. Centrica, the operator with a 40 percent stake, will now drill a side-track well to appraise for additional volumes.

For Faroe, the find represents the sixth discovery from eight exploration wells since 2009. The London-listed company’s shares surged 6.9 percent, the most in almost two months, and closed at 154 pence. Centrica was little changed.

“If we continue a hit rate anything like this, we’ll be delighted though we wouldn’t expect it,” Faroe Chief Executive Officer Graham Stewart said in a phone interview. “This is a further demonstration that Norway has enormous potential.”

Suncor Energy Inc. owns a 30 percent stake in the well and Spring Energy Norway AS holds 15 percent. The Butch discovery is in 66 meters of water and close to Tambar and Gyda fields.

Faroe is fully funded through 2013, Stewart also said. The company plans to drill two more exploration wells this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Swint in London at bswint@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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