Statoil provides boost to ailing North Sea oil sector with fresh discovery

Statoil (NYSE:STO) has announced a new oil discovery in the UK’s segment of the North Sea, the first such breakthrough in 2017 which arrives as a timely boost to the declining basin.

The Norwegian oil giant’s discovery in the Moray Firth Basin off the coast of Scotland could hold as much as 130 million barrels of oil and be worth up to US$6.5 billion at current trading prices.

Regional trade body Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) said the finding was a ‘show of confidence’ in the basin’s future before classifying the discovery as the first of the year.

Hurricane Energy announced a major North Sea find earlier this year, but OGUK considered the one billion-barrel discovery an extension of a field where drilling first began in 2009.

Jez Averty, a senior vice president at Statoil, said: “We have proven oil in good quality sands with good reservoir properties, but significant work remains, most likely including appraisal, to clarify the recoverable volumes and to refine this range.”

Despite this encouraging result, Statoil also reported disappointing drill campaigns from two other North Sea wells, along with a further fruitless search in the Norwegian Arctic.