Statoil spurs fuel hopes in Norway after striking oil in the Barents Sea

NORWEGIAN oil firm Statoil has made a second big oil discovery in the Barents Sea in less than a year and predicted more discoveries to come in the region, further boosting the remote Arctic region’s oil prospects.

The discovery will also improve the oil prospects of Norway, the world’s eighth-largest oil exporter and the second-largest for gas, which has seen declining oil output since 2001, following a string of discoveries made in the past year.

“This is extremely positive,” said John Olaisen, an analyst at Oslo-based firm Carnegie.

“This is an important strategic asset in a new oil region, so this is very good... One could expect more oil finds in the region after this.”

Finding oil in the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea had until recently proven to be very difficult. The new oil find at the Havis prospect could hold between 200m and 300m barrels of oil equivalent.

Together with the previous and nearby discovery in the region, called Skrugard, it could provide between 400m and 600m boe, Statoil said yesterday.

Over the past 30 years oil companies have drilled 92 exploration wells but only a handful have proven to be hits ­– including Statoil’s Snoehvit gas field, and Eni’s Goliat oilfield.