The oil major and its partners made an oil discovery in the Verbier sidetrack well in the outer Moray Firth on the UK Continental Shelf, proving a minimum of 25 million recoverable barrels of oil in the immediate vicinity of the wellbore.
The discovery is thought to be between 25 and 130 million barrels of oil. Further testing will confirm the value.
“This is an encouraging result for Statoil and the UK team. We have proven oil in good quality sands with good reservoir properties, but significant work remains, most likely including appraisal, to clarify the recoverable volumes and to refine this range,” said Jez Averty, senior vice president Exploration in Norway and the UK.
Jenny Morris, vice president for Exploration in the UK, added: “The results show that we made the right decision to sidetrack the well and this discovery proves that there could be significant remaining potential in this mature basin.
“Our aim this summer was to develop Statoil’s UK position through testing three independent prospects ranging in geological risk and with a potential impact on our portfolio. Whilst the results of the other two exploration wells were disappointing, we are convinced of the remaining, high-value potential on the UK continental shelf and the Verbier result certainly gives us the confidence and determination to continue our exploration efforts.”
The Verbier main wellbore encountered a water-filled sand and the decision was made to drill a sidetrack to assess the remaining potential up-dip.
The partnership, which includes Jersey Oil and Gas, will continue to assess the data and plan further appraisal to determine the exact size of the discovery. The partnership will also seek to determine the commerciality of the discovery in addition to maturing additional opportunities within the P2170 licence.
Jersey chief executive Andrew Benitz added: “We are delighted by the positive outcome of the Verbier sidetrack. The well has achieved its objective by encountering good quality, hydrocarbon-bearing sands, up dip from the initial well with the results exceeding pre drill expectations for the sidetrack.”
Statoil’s two other prospects – Mariner 9 and Jock Scott – returned disappointing results.
The Mariner Segment 9 well encountered two oil-filled sands in the Heimdal Formation and a thin oil column in the deeper Maureen Formation. A comprehensive suite of data was acquired which will be used to establish the extent of the Heimdal sand bodies, the impact on resources and future drainage strategy for the main Mariner field together with the potential for tie back of additional resources.
Jock Scott was dry and no reservoir section was encountered. All wells were drilled safely and very efficiently, and the drilling program came in below budget.