Statoil's Flemish Pass campaign disappoints

July 10, 2017

Statoil and partner Husky Energy have failed to discover hydrocarbons in the Flemish Pass Basin, offshore Newfoundland, the Norwegian giant announced today (10 July).

The West Aquarius. Image from Seadrill.

The two-well exploration drilling program with the Seadrill West Aquarius, some 500km east of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, was within tieback vicinity to Statoil’s 2013 Bay du Nord discovery. 

“These results are disappointing, as we had hoped to add additional optionality to the near-field area at Bay du Nord,” says Trond Jacobsen, vice president, Exploration, Statoil Canada. “We will now take the time needed to evaluate the results before firming up any plans for additional drilling near-field to Bay du Nord.”

Despite the the disappointing results in the Flemish Pass, Westwood Global Energy Group says that conventional exploration performance has improved considerably in 2017, with commercial success rates above 50% and much lower finding costs than for the same period in 2016. 

Commercial volumes discovered in 1H 2017 are already greater than for the whole of 2016, according to Westwood.

“Overall, commercial success rates jumped to 53% in 1H 2017 from 30% in 1H 2016, reflecting the high-grading of drilling portfolios, and fewer higher risk frontier wells (down to only five in 1H 2017). It is likely that 2017 will see drilling and spend slightly down on 2016 overall, but there remains some uncertainty over plans,” says Andrew Hughes, head of research, global exploration, Westwood.

The volume estimates for Bay du Nord, including the Bay de Verde and Baccalieu discoveries announced in 2016, remain at an estimated 300 MMbbl of recoverable oil, as previously announced after Statoil’s 2014-16 drilling campaign.

Statoil has had high hopes for its Flemish Pass Basin acreage. Prior to the oil price downturn, the company had its eyes on development. 

“Bay du Nord and its associated prospects represent high value barrels,” said Jez Averty, former Senior Vice President of Exploration for Statoil, North America, back in 2014. “The water depth is moderate (1100m), the reservoir quality is good, the oil quality is good, and the development of production technologies are largely proven.” The oil at Bay du Nord is a light crude with 34°API.

Statoil now says that it will continue to evaluate future drilling activities in other areas where the company holds acreage in the frontier Flemish Pass Basin. Assessment will continue of the commercial potential of the Bay du Nord discovery.

“We continue to evaluate the feasibility of a development at Bay du Nord,” says Paul Fulton, president, Statoil Canada. “While these results mean a reduction in optionality for a potential project development, we continue to work on this project.”

Read more

Statoil in double Bay du Nord discovery (2016)

Statoil bets on Flemish Pass (2014)



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