Norwegian oil and gas major Statoil has discovered hydrocarbons at the 7220/7-2 S well in PL532, situated in the Barents Sea.

The well, near Johan Castberg in the Barents Sea, has encountered a 22m gas column and a 23m oil column in the Jurassic Tubåen formation, plus a 133m oil column in the Triassic Fruholmen formation.

Statoil drilled the 7220/7-2 S well using the West Hercules rig and estimates the volumes would be in the range of 20-50 million barrels of recoverable oil.

Statoil’s senior vice president for exploration on the Norwegian continental shelf Gro G. Haatvedt said the company puts a lot of effort into proving additional oil resources in the Johan Castberg area in order to make the field development project more robust.

"Skavl was the third of the four wells in the Johan Castberg area we have on our drilling plan this year. The first two wells, Nunatak and Iskrystall, proved only gas, but we know from experience that it takes stamina and persistence to succeed in the Barents Sea," Haatvedt said.

"It is also encouraging that we have confirmed a new play model in the area with the oil discovery in the Fruholmen formation, something which will be followed up in future exploration."

Statoil, which operates production license PL532, will continue exploring in 2014 for oil resources in the Johan Castberg area.

The company is set to drill the Kramsnø prospect, which is the last of the four prospects scheduled to be tested in 2013, after completion of Skavl.

Statoil holds ownership share of 50% in PL532, while its partners Eni Norge and Petoro hold 30% and 20% stakes respectively.

"We are working closely with our license partners to establish a plan for further exploration drilling in the Johan Castberg area. The Drivis prospect has already been approved for drilling in 2014, and we are currently evaluating additional opportunities," Haatvedt added.

Image: Map showing location of exploration well 7220/7-2 S in PL532, Norway. Photo courtesy of Statoil.