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Det Norske Confident Arctic Gohta Oil Find Will Be Developed

Nov. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Det Norske Oljeselskap ASA, which has a stake in Norway’s biggest oil discovery in decades, is confident its Gohta find in the Barents Sea will be developed.

“There’s a good probability it will be commercialized,” Chief Operating Officer Oeyvind Bratsberg said today.

The discovery, holding as much as 145 million barrels of crude, could either be developed alone or be tied in to Statoil ASA’s Johan Castberg project 65 kilometers (40 miles) away, Bratsberg said. Gohta is similar in size to Eni SpA’s Goliat, the first oil find to be developed in the Barents Sea, he said.

Norway, western Europe’s biggest oil and gas producer, is expanding into the Arctic waters of the Barents Sea to compensate for falling production from decades-old North Sea fields. Explorers’ interest was revived by Castberg’s twin Skrugard and Havis finds in 2011 and 2012 with as much as 600 million barrels of oil.

Gohta, which was announced in September just days after OMV AG said it had found as much as 160 million barrels of oil in another area of the Barents, is Norway’s first discovery with sufficient crude flow made in Permian rocks. Det Norske, based in Trondheim, is now looking at other prospects in Permian layers in licenses around Gohta.

“It definitely opens opportunities,” Bratsberg said in an interview in Oslo.

Det Norske, which today reported a net loss of 158 million kroner ($27 million) for the third quarter, also said it didn’t consider the Norvarg gas discovery in the Barents Sea, operated by Total SA, commercially viable because of a lack of natural-gas infrastructure in the area.

Gas Pipeline

The industry will need new gas volumes the size of “one to two Ormen Lange fields,” or as much as 600 billion cubic meters, to build a southbound export pipeline from the Barents Sea, Bratsberg said. That represents more than three times the volumes of the Snohvit gas discovery, the only field in operation in the Barents Sea to date.

“It will also depend on gas markets,” he said. “I think there’s a possibility gas prices in Europe could come under a certain pressure.”

Det Norske has interest in two of three licenses holding the Johan Sverdrup oil discovery in the North Sea, possibly the biggest off Norway since 1974 with as much as 3.6 billion barrels of oil. The partners, which include Statoil and Lundin Petroleum AB, intend to start production toward the end of 2018, Bratsberg confirmed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mikael Holter in Oslo at mholter2@bloomberg.net

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

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