Statoil has discovered gas during drilling of an exploration well 2km southwest of the Norne field in the Norwegian Sea.

A 143m-high gas column was found to contain an estimated 1.3 billion to 1.5 billion cubic metres of recoverable gas in the Fangst and Båt group of the Middle and Lower Jurassic.

The company said extensive data has been collected and cores taken for the 6507/3-8 well, which has a 378m water depth, however, no formation test has been conducted.

Drilling of the well was carried out up to a 2,968m below sea level measured depth, and termination was conducted in the Lower Jurassic Tilje formation. The well was drilled by the Ocean Vanguard.

The well will now be plugged permanently and abandoned.

Statoil holds an 85% stake in PL 159 B, while Dong E&P Norge AS holds 15% stake.