Norway-based oil company Statoil has finished drilling the Skinfaks South well in the Gullfaks field, North Sea.

The Norwegian operator estimates volumes at the find to be between 1.9 million and 6.9 million barrels of oil equivalent after the drilling of exploration well 33/12 by semi-submersible COSL Pioneer in North Sea.

The probe, which was drilled in a water depth of 135m, found light oil in an 80m column of Middle Jurassic reservoir rock after reaching a depth of 3,722m.

The discovery is located directly west of the main Gullfaks field in the Tampen area, and is a further contribution to Statoil’s infrastructure-led exploration (ILX) strategy.

Statoil’s exploration vice-president for North Sea Tore Løseth said that the company was evaluating how the discovery can be connected to the existing infrastructure.

"Our exploration strategy for the Norwegian Continental Shelf focuses both on high-impact discoveries and what we call time-critical ILX, which is exploration close to installations that within a couple of years will have the capacity to receive the oil and gas we find," said Løseth.

Exploration drilling around Gullfaks has further boosted reserves volumes at the field, which was discovered in 1978.

The discovery at Gullfaks South, along with the Rimfaks and Valemon finds, have added another one billion barrels of oil equivalent to its original resource estimate of 2.5 billion barrels of oil.

Statoil made four discoveries in one year at Rutil, OPAL, Brent 10 A/B and now Skinfaks South, which will add further volumes of up to 100 million barrels of oil.

ILX drilling is to be carried out close to Oseberg, Snorre and Norne.