“Our main goal was to find oil... but unfortunately it did not materialise,” said Gro Haatvedt, senior vice president for exploration in Norway. “We still believe we can prove more oil resources in the Johan Castberg area and will continue our exploration effort with two more wells.”
The discovery probably contains gas equal to between 6m and 25m barrels of oil equivalent, Statoil added.
“[There was a] poorer reservoir quality than expected in both formations at the well position,” the Petroleum Directorate – a government agency – said.
Ice Crystal has been one of Statoil’s most closely watched wells because of its close proximity to the Johan Castberg find.
Earlier this year Statoil suspended the development of Castberg, thought to contain up to 600m barrels of oil, because of rising costs, and said it would study new development concepts. Analysts said that a big find at Ice Crystal would improve the chances of Castberg going ahead, especially if there is a possibility to connect the two.
Statoil is the operator and holds a 50 per cent stake, while Italy’s ENI holds 30 per cent and Norwegian state firm Petoro has 20 per cent.