Statoil Rises as Gullfaks Find Means Cheap Oil: Oslo Mover

Statoil ASA, Norway’s biggest oil and gas producer, rose from an 18-month low after a new find in the 27-year-old Gullfaks field in the North Sea raises prospects of cheaper oil.

The shares rose as much as 2.3 percent, the most since Feb. 7, and were up 2.1 percent at 136.4 kroner as of 1:10 p.m. in Oslo, after yesterday trading at the lowest intraday level since October 2011. About 1.8 million shares have traded so far today, or 59 percent of the three-month average daily volume.

Statoil estimates the discovery to hold 40 million to 150 million recoverable barrels of oil equivalent at a shallower level than existing Brent deposits in the license, it said in a statement today. While the estimates are still uncertain, a well test indicates good flow rates, Statoil said.

“The development can be conducted relatively quickly and very cheaply compared to an average North Sea oil field development,” analysts at Pareto Securities AS said in a note. The find may be worth as much as $15 a barrel of oil equivalent, or 1 krone to 3 kroner a share, according to the Oslo-based investment bank.

Interest in the North Sea, where crude output has halved since 2000, has been renewed after Statoil and Lundin Petroleum AB found oil at the Johan Sverdrup field, which may hold 1.7 billion to 3.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Statoil is seeking to boost production by a quarter to 2.5 million barrels of oil equivalent a day in 2020.

“For now we’re looking at the possibility of producing through the existing wells and that gives a very, very low cost of producing these barrels,” Statoil spokesman Ola Anders Skauby said by phone from Stavanger.

A well has produced about 1 million barrels since December, Skauby said. While it’s too early to say when more output will be added, a second existing well is being extended, he said.

Statoil is the operator of the license with a 70 percent stake, while Petoro AS holds 30 percent.

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