Norway’s multinational oil and gas company Statoil, along with its partners, has discovered oil in an area surrounding the Grane field in the North Sea.

The company and its partners are currently in the process of completing drilling in exploration well 25/11-27 in the Grane Unit.

Statoil used the Songa Trym rig to drill the well, which proved an oil column of 20 metres in the Heimdal Formation and is estimated to contain recoverable oil in the range of 18-33 million barrels.

Grane oil field has been developed with an integrated accommodation, processing and drilling platform, with a fixed steel frame construction resting on the sea bed.

Located about 185km west of Haugesund, where the sea depth is 127 metres, the oil platform was discovered by Hydro in 1991, and came on stream on 23 September 2003.

The oil from the platform is shifted by pipeline to the Sture terminal, where it is stored in large rock caverns in the mountainside before being shipped to the global market.

According to Statoil, when the Grane field came on stream, its recoverable reserves were estimated to total 700 million barrels of oil.

"The company and its partners are currently in the process of completing drilling in exploration well 25/11-27."

Statoil North Sea exploration vice president Tore Løseth said the oil discovery is situated directly north of the Grane field and can be developed effectively.

"Near-field exploration is an important contribution in Statoil’s exploration portfolio on the NCS," Løseth added.

"Even though volumes in these discoveries are moderate compared with the big finds over the last few years, these are fast, high-value barrels that are important for extending the production life of existing installations."

Statoil is the operator of the well 25/11-27 with 36.66% interest, while other partners, Petoro, ExxonMobil Exploration & Production Norway and ConocoPhillips Skandinavia, hold 28.94%, 28.22% and 6.17% stakes respectively.

The company said nearly 40% of its exploration wells on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS), in the Oseberg, Fram / Gjøa and Tampen areas, will be near-field exploration in 2013.

Image: Grane field, North Sea. Photo courtesy of Statoil.