Statoil has a third oil find in the Flemish Pass Basin offshore Newfoundland and Labrador.
On Tuesday afternoon, the company announced a discovery of oil at its Bay du Nord prospect, about 500 kilometres northeast of St. John’s. The news was released before the company is finished work on the exploration well.
“We wanted to share this good news with the province as soon as possible,” said Geir Richardsen, Statoil vice-president of exploration, speaking with The Tele-gram from Calgary.
The discovery is only about 10 kilometres from a find at a prospect called Harpoon, ann-ounced in June.
It is also about 20 kilometres from an oil discovery at the Mizzen prospect, announced in 2010.
Despite the trio of finds, there is still no guarantee of an offshore oil development by Statoil.
However, oil discoveries are not assured when companies head out for exploration drilling, even with the best available information, making Statoil’s steady success in the Flemish Pass notable.
“If you have success in one out of three you’re really good, but this has given us two in one year,” Richardsen said, reiterating the company’s interest in becoming an oil producer off Newfoundland and Labrador.
As with the discovery at Harpoon, the exact amount of oil associated with the Bay du Nord find has yet to be determined. The Mizzen discovery has been estimated at 100-200 million barrels of oil.
Richardsen said the company could not yet say the type of oil encountered at Bay du Nord.
“The success of Bay du Nord is the result of an ambitious and targeted drilling campaign in the Flemish Pass Basin,” Stat-
oil’s exploration executive vice-president Tim Dodson said in a statement.
“The Flemish Pass Basin is a strategic part of Statoil’s global exploration portfolio. We are now planning to return to the area for further appraisal drilling in the future,” he said.
That delineation work will mean more investment for the provincial supply and service sector.
“This is a big, big deal,” said Bob Cadigan, president of Noia, the St. John’s-based oil and gas industries association, after receiving news of the find.
He said he expected phones to be buzzing around the world with news of Statoil’s latest success.
“A brand new basin with three discoveries on very few wells. ... I think it’s going to get a lot of international attention from exploration and production companies,” he said.
Cadigan noted the new discovery is good news for Husky as well, since Husky Energy is a partner on the Bay du Nord and Harpoon exploration wells, with a 35 per cent interest.
In addition to its current work, Statoil will be teamed with Chevron later this year to drill a well in the Orphan Basin — another frontier exploration area away from the province’s existing, producing oil projects.