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Norwegian major Statoil ASA (STO - Analyst Report) and its partners have completed the appraisal of an important well in the western section of the Johan Sverdrup field in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea.

The probe – 16/2-17S – was drilled by the rig, Ocean Vanguard. It encountered a gross 269 feet oil column in the Jurassic sandstones and flowed at a rate of 6,000 barrels per day in the upper part of the reservoir, during a production test.

Located in PL 265, the appraisal well 16/2-17S was spud about .9 miles south west of appraisal well 16/2-8 in PL265 and 1.49 miles north west of appraisal well 16/2-11 in PL501.

The outcome of drilling substantiates the scope of the reservoir along the western margin of the field as well as exceptional reservoir characteristics as witnessed in other parts of the Johan Sverdrup field.

However, the side track that targeted Cliffhanger South was unsuccessful in finding the Jurassic reservoir and was tagged as dry. The result of the sidetrack does not change the volume estimates for Johan Sverdrup.

The side track, well 16/2-17B, also assessed a secondary target in the granitic basement of the Utsira High. The samples collected from this part enclosed oil shows, but were established as non-producible. The findings decrease the possibility for upside potential in the basement section in the Johan Sverdrup area.

Cliffhanger North is expected to be drilled by the consortium in Aug 2013. The development of Johan Sverdrup will involve the use of several platforms in the North Sea.

Statoil, the operator of PL 265, has a 40% stake. The other partners Petoro, Det norske Oljeselskap and Lundin Norway AS have a respective share of 30%, 20% and 10%.

Statoil carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell). However, Zacks Ranked #1 (Strong Buy) stocks – Hornbech Offshore Services, Inc. (HOS - Snapshot Report), Newpark Resources Inc. (NR - Snapshot Report) and Gulfmark Offshore, Inc. (GLF - Snapshot Report) – are expected to perform impressively over the short term.

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