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Norwegian oil giant Statoil ASA (STO - Analyst Report) and its partners have encountered oil in PL 348/348B in the Snilehorn prospect in the Norwegian Sea.

Located about 15 kilometers northeast of the Njord field, the prospect represents the third find in the area in the last three months.

Drilled by the rig, Songa Trym, exploration well 6407/8-6 and sidetrack 6407/8-6A, have proven several oil columns in formations from the Jurassic period.

The main wellbore has proven oil columns totaling about 191 meters in the Ile, Tilje and Grey-Beds formations. The main bore, 6407/8-6, hit oil columns of about 40 meters thickness in the Ile formation, 130 meters in the Tilje formation and about 21 meters in the Triassic Grey–Beds formation.

The discovery is estimated to hold recoverable reserves in the range of 55–100 million barrels of oil. The find is considered to be light oil of high quality.

Exploration wells 6407/8-6 and 6407/8-6A are located in PL348/348B in the Norwegian Sea. Statoil operates these probes with an interest of 35%. The other partners are GDF SUEZ E&P Norge AS, E.ON E&P Norge AS, Core Energy AS, Faroe Petroleum Norge AS and VNG Norge AS holding 20%, 17.5%, 17.5%, 7.5% and 2.5%, respectively.

The 3 discoveries made by Statoil in the last three months including the latest one are the Smørbukk North gas/condensate discovery in the Åsgard area in August and the Svale North oil discovery in the Norne area. The trio is estimated to augment the company’s reserves in the range of 86–166 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalent. These are considered as having high value and the potential to extend the production life of the company’s installations.

Statoil carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). However, there are other sector stocks – SM Energy Company (SM - Analyst Report), Western Gas Partners LP (WES - Snapshot Report) and Abraxas Petroleum Corp. (AXAS - Snapshot Report) – that hold a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and are worth buying now.

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