March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Statoil ASA, the biggest Norwegian energy company, discovered more crude oil at its Johan Sverdrup field, adding to resources that may turn out to be the largest find off the country’s shores in almost 40 years.
“There may be further upside potential in the area” when Statoil drills an exploration well at the Cliffhanger prospect west of Johan Sverdrup, the company said today in a statement.
The field discovered by Lundin Petroleum AB in 2010 may hold as much as 3.6 billion barrels of oil, the biggest find off Norway since Statfjord in 1974. Sverdrup rekindled interest in exploration off the country, where crude oil output is expected to decline for a 13th year in 2013 to less than half its peak in 2000, according to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.
Statoil, which plans to release a new estimate for Sverdrup by the end of the year, today said an exploration well found “a small additional upside to the field’s resources.”
The well proved a 13.5-meter (44-foot) so-called oil column in license 502 and showed it linked to the rest of the field in licenses 501 and 265, the Stavanger-based company said.
The result “has a positive impact on our evaluation of further upside potential west of the current outline” of the field, Gro Haatvedt, senior vice president for exploration in Norway, said in the statement. A well that will be drilled at Cliffhanger this year will be important in clarifying the full potential in the area, Haatvedt said.
Det Norske Oljeselskap ASA, with 22.2 percent of license 502, on March 7 said a well at the prospect encountered oil. The Trondheim-based company had estimated 40 million to 85 million barrels of oil equivalent before drilling.
Statoil is the operator of license 502 with 44.44 percent, while Petoro AS has 33.33 percent. Lundin is the operator of license 501 with 40 percent, while Statoil also has 40 percent and the oil unit of AP Moeller-Maersk A/S 20 percent.
Statoil operates license 265 with 40 percent, Petoro has 30 percent, Det Norske 20 percent and Lundin 10 percent.
The companies plan to submit a development plan in the fourth quarter of 2014 with production starting in 2018.
Statoil rose 0.3 percent to 140.9 kroner by 11:28 a.m. in Oslo trading, Det Norske gained 1 percent to 91 kroner and Lundin slid 0.3 percent to 139.8 kronor in Stockholm.
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