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Statoil ASA (STO - Analyst Report) has started production on the Stjerne field in the North Sea. This marks the company’s fifth fast-track project that came online following the recent commencement of the Skuld field at Norne.

Discovered in 2009, the Stjerne field consists of a four-slot seabed template. While two wells will generate oil and gas, the other two will bring in water into the reservoir for pressure support. Statoil has already finished drilling one of these wells.

Statoil added that the field’s economy looks relatively promising and was NOK 500 million ($85.7 million approximately) below the company’s estimated budget. The Stjerne project took 39 months for completion after it was made part of Statoil’s fast-track portfolio. But the company plans to reduce its implementation time for the new fast-track ventures to 30 months.

The recoverable reserves of the field − located 13 kilometers southwest of the Oseberg South platform in the North Sea − are expected to be 49.2 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBoe), with oil accounting for 20.7 MMBoe of that total. Moreover, the project is expected to boost the recovery level to 4.4 MMBoe from the Oseberg Omega North reservoir. As per the PDO, total production is expected at 7,800 BOE per day.

Statoil aims to bring five fast-track projects online in 2013, with Skuld, 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 the development phase by almost half of the generally accepted time of five years.

Statoil holds a Zacks Rank #3, which is equivalent to a short-term Hold rating. However, there are other stocks in the energy sector, namely, Range Resources Corporation (RRC - Analyst Report), EPL Oil & Gas, Inc. , YPF S.A (YPF - Snapshot Report) that are expected to perform impressively over the next few months. Range Resources and EPL carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while YPF carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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