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Norwegian oil giant Statoil ASA (STO - Analyst Report) has commenced production from its Skuld field at Norne in the Norwegian Sea within three years of its discovery, making it the fastest  of the company's 12 fast-track developments.

The Norwegian Sea field comprises two discoveries – Fossekall and Dompap – that are being developed as a subsea tieback to the Norne floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel. The other fields that are already tied to the Norne FPSO are Norne, Urd, Alve and Marulk fields.

The total cost of the project is estimated at NOK 10 billion ($1.7 billion). Other partners of Statoil on the field include Petoro AS and Italy-based Eni SpA (E - Analyst Report).

Skuld – considered the largest of the development fields in the fast-track portfolio – has estimated recoverable reserves of 90 million barrels of oil equivalent, of which 90% is oil and the remaining is gas.

Over the next two years, the average increase in daily yield will be 50% of what is currently produced to Norne. The field will account for 45% of the additional production from such projects targeted to commence in 2013.

Norne’s lifetime is likely to be enhanced through Skuld. Now, Norne is likely to produce until at least 2030 instead of its earlier estimated lifetime till 2021. The Norne area also offers prospects for further activities, including improved recovery from existing fields.

Statoil targets to bring five fast-track projects online in 2013, with Hyme, Visund South and Vigdis North East fields already commissioned earlier. The fast-track projects aid in reducing the time of bringing a field into development phase by almost half of the generally accepted time of five years.

Statoil holds a Zacks Rank #2, which is equivalent to a short-term Buy rating. However, there are other stocks in the energy sector, namely, Range Resources Corporation (RRC - Analyst Report) and EPL Oil & Gas, Inc. , which carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and are expected to perform impressively over the next few months.

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