Companies commit to exploration off N.L.

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Province still only small portion of global spending

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“Offshore Newfoundland is interesting to us, not just because we find it prospective, but also because it plays a strategic role in developing our Arctic competence,” said Statoil’s senior vice-president for exploration, Erik Finnstrom, in a closing conference address.

Finnstrom said this area — often described as “sub-Arctic” — can act as a stepping stone for the company, as it completes research and development work to, with success, allow Statoil to cost-effectively and more rapidly move into “Arctic” licence areas in West Greenland, the Barents Sea and Beaufort Sea.

Globally, Statoil drilled 87 exploration wells in 2011-12 and is set to drill another 50 in 2013.

Earlier this week, the company announced one well at its Harpoon prospect off Newfoundland and Labrador showed oil.

The find is about 10 kilometres from a previously-announced find at the company’s Mizzen prospect.

A well to be drilled later this year at the Bay du Nord prospect, in the same offshore basin, the Flemish Pass Basin, is considered by Statoil as one of its “wells to watch,” Finnstrom said.

He said he generally feels offshore Newfoundland and Labrador shows similarities to offshore Norway and holds potential for large discoveries.

“When we see geologic opportunities, such as we do see here in the offshore Newfoundland basins, we are very motivated to take (those) challenging operating conditions on,” he said.

St. John’s Mayor Dennis O’Keefe listened to the closing address and said Statoil’s discovery at Harpoon is good news for the local industry and the push for more exploration. However, he added, “even greater news” was the repeated commitment by Statoil staffers to that company becoming an operator offshore Newfoundland and Labrador.

“(It) augurs well when it comes to oil and gas for Newfoundland and Labrador. It augurs very well for the City of St. John’s,” he said.

O’Keefe said the city has talked to oil industry representatives about developing infrastructure to both accommodate and attract people for industry work — including educational, recreational and cultural infrastructure.

Organizations: Statoil

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Arctic, West Greenland Barents Sea Norway

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Recent comments

  • Anne S. Morris
    July 28, 2013 - 17:29

    One of the things Newfoundland & Labrador indisputably needs to do is follow the example of Norway. Companies do not get 80% of oil and gas revenue. Newfoundland receives 80% royalities and companies get 20%. Don't do what Fort McMurray has done.