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Statoil's Arctic exploration fails to find oil
by Staff Writers
Oslo (AFP) Aug 29, 2017

First effort in frontier part of Barents Sea disappoints Statoil
Washington (UPI) Aug 29, 2017 - Norwegian energy company Statoil said it was frustrated, but unfazed, by the results from its first effort in waters formerly a subject of dispute with Russia.

Norwegian energy company Statoil and its partners working at the Korpfjell well in the Barents Sea announced a gas discovery that did not prove enough volume to be considered a commercial project. It was the fourth well in Statoil's campaign in the Barents Sea and the objective of the well was to determine if there was any oil there.

Jez Averty, Statoil's head of exploration in Norway, said the results were disappointing, but it was too early in the effort to consider it a derailment.

"It is important to remember that you rarely succeed on the first try in a frontier area," he said in a statement. "Thirty-three wells were drilled before the first commercial discovery was made in the Norwegian section of the North Sea."

The North Sea is one of the more productive areas in the region.

The Korpfjell operation was the target of protests by a handful of Greenpeace activists who left their Arctic Sunrise protest vessel on inflatable boats and kayaks to protest against drilling above the Arctic Circle. The group said Korpfjell was the northernmost drilling target to date.

In April, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the nation's energy regulator, said new data from eastern and northern parts of the Barents Sea, areas previously a source of dispute with Russia, led to upward revisions of the reserve estimate by up to 65 percent. The region in general is already expecting a record this year in terms of the number of exploration wells at 15, up two wells from the previous record in 2014.

Statoil was working at Korpfjell alongside its partner Lundin Petroleum. Lundin's president and CEO, Alex Schneiter, said the results weren't what they hoped for, but stressed it was only the first regional effort.

"More exploration will be needed to understand the potential of this area," he said in a statement.

Norwegian oil group Statoil said Tuesday that exploratory drilling in the Korpfjell prospect area in the Arctic, which experts thought may contain the country's largest oil find, had been "disappointing".

The first test well showed only small volumes of natural gas, "not large enough for commercial development," Statoil said in a statement.

Korpfjell is located on the northernmost block ever opened to oil exploration in Norway, in the southeastern part of the Barents Sea, and Statoil plans to continue exploration next year.

The area has long been disputed between Russia and Norway, and was only opened to oil exploration after the two countries reached a maritime border agreement in 2010.

Environmental activists have vehemently protested against oil activities in the region over concerns for its rich yet fragile ecosystem. They also fear the activities are too close to the sea ice and too far from land-based infrastructure, should an emergency arise.

"Statoil failed in Korpfjell, the oil industry's northernmost dream 415 km from land yielded only a little gas. Hooray!," the head of Greenpeace Norway, Truls Gulowsen, cheered on Twitter.

Norway is the largest oil and gas producer in Western Europe, and consulting agency Rystad Energy was quoted in the media in December as saying that Korpfjell could in the best-case scenario hold up to 10 billion barrels of oil, which would make it the nation's biggest field by far.

"The results are of course disappointing, but it is too early to draw any conclusions on how this will impact the Barents Sea southeast area," Jez Averty, Statoil's head of exploration in Norway and Britain, said in the statement.

Statoil is nonetheless planning further exploration in the southeastern area of the Barents Sea in 2018, including the drilling of a second well in Korpfjell.

The Norwegian group owns 30 percent of the Korpfjell licence, alongside Chevron (20%), Petoro (20%), Lundin (15%) and ConocoPhillips (15%).




Profits up 40 percent for Chinese oil and gas company Sinopec
Washington (UPI) Aug 28, 2017
Chinese oil and gas company Sinopec said net profit for the first half of the year was up 40 percent in response to domestic demand and higher crude oil prices. The company, known formally as China Petroleum & Chemical, reported a net profit for the first six months of the year at $4.2 billion, up 40 percent from the same period last year. Net cash flow was down about three quarters of ... read more

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