Statoil is splashing out on a major new Arctic exploration campaign which will see twelve new frontier wells drilled in the next few  years.

Exploration chief Tim Dodson has outlined how the Norwegian oil major will target stepout prospects from its Havis and Skrugard discoveries in the Barents Sea but new drilling targets have been identified offshore Alaska, Greenland and in the Russian sector of the Barents Sea.

Dodson one of the reasons for exploring these Arctic frontiers is the believe that the Arctic could contain between 20% and 25% of the world’s yet to find conventional oil and gas resources.

The size of the prize in these regions is huge: In the Alaska, Beaufort Sea region, estimated reserves are put at 73 billion barrels of oil equivalent. In West Siberia estimated reserves are 133 Bn boe, in Greenland in Eastern Canada, another 52 bn  boe, and in the Eastern Barents Sea, 60 bn boe.

With the West Hercules semi-submersible rig now being prepared for severe Arctic winter drilling conditions and contracted to Statoil for five years, Statoil has the rig to drill these frontier wells.

Statoil is targeting what is calls the “workable Arctic,” – known Barents Sea regions. It will also seek to drill in the “stretch Arctic” – regions where incremental offshore technology innovation is required, such as the Chukchi Sea offshore Alaska, and “extreme” Arctic Basins where radical technology innovation is required, such as Eastern Greenland where a new licensing round is expected at the end of this year.

In the Barents Sea’s Hammerfest Basin, Statoil is planning wells on four prospects near the Havis and Skrugard discoveries: Kramsno, Nunatak, Skavi and Iskrystall. In the Hoop Basin, further north in the Barents Sea, Statoil is planning another two wells on the Apollo and Atlantic prospect.

“These are not as big as Havis  but there are significant volumes we expect to find here,” Dodson, Statoil’s executive vice president for exploration  has told an industry briefing at this year’s ONS 2012 conference and exhibition in Stavanger.

Offshore Russia, Statoil reports good progress in negotiations on four offshore exploration licences as part of a joint venture with Rosneft, where it is looking at drilling on Perseevensky and Sea of Okhotsk licences.

Offshore Newfoundland, a three well programme with the West Aquarius rig is due to start towards the end of this year, targeting the Cupids and Harpoon prospects in the Flemish Pass,  and a non-operated well the Margaree prospects in the Orphan Basin, plus another on the Federation prospect near the Terra Nova field.

Offshore West Greenland, Statoil is due to a make a drill or drop decision on its Pitu licence block in 2013, and its has two others, Anu and Napu also in the Baffin Bay area where it is currently obtaining 3D data.
Elsewhere in the North American Arctic, Statoil is looking to drilling the Amundsen prospect, in the Chukchi Sea, north of the Devil’s Paw Discovery, and in the Beaufort Sea, Statoil is involved in further exploration as a partner in acquisition of new 3D seismic there, and further drilling is planned on Alaskan acreage