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Norwegian giant Statoil ASA (STO - Analyst Report) hit upon a small oil find while drilling a well on the Svale Nord prospect in the Norwegian Sea.

The mid-water semi submersible rig Songa Trym was used to drill the exploration well 6608/10-15 in production license (PL) 128, about nine kilometers north-east of the Norne field.

The primary exploration target of the well was to confirm oil in Early Jurassic reservoir rocks. The secondary target was to establish oil in Middle Jurassic rocks.

The probe proved a 45 meter oil column in the Are formation and a 45 meter oil column in the secondary Melke formation. Reservoir thickness and properties in both targets met expectations. Well 6608/10-15 was drilled in water depth of 375 meters to reach a total vertical depth of 2,005 meters subsea.

Per the preliminary projections, the discovery is estimated to hold recoverable resources between 6 million to 19 million barrels of oil.

Formation testing on the well is still pending, however, data acquisition and sampling have been performed. The tie-in of the discovery to the Norne field is still under consideration, as the find could further lead to an extension of the Norne field production life.

The latest discovery follows closely after the Smorbukk North find last month and represents the second discovery in the Norwegian Sea in three weeks. These discoveries signify the promising upside still present in the Norwegian Sea. Moreover, the timely completion of field exploration contributes to the resources of the company.

Statoil, the operator of PL 128, holds an interest of 63.95%. The other partners include Italy’s Eni SpA (E - Analyst Report) and Petoro AS, with a stake of 11.5% and 24.55%, respectively.

Statoil carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). However, Zacks Ranked #1 (Strong Buy) stocks – Range Resources Corp. (RRC - Analyst Report) and Whiting Petroleum Corp. (WLL - Snapshot Report) – appear attractive for the short term.

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