Statoil’s drilling of the Skinfaks South well in the North Sea has been completed and the estimated volume is between 1.9 and 6.9 million barrels of oil equivalents. This is the fourth infrastructure-near discovery in the Gullfaks area in a 10 month period.
Light oil has been confirmed in Middle Jurassic reservoir rocks (Brent group) and a 80 metre high column in good-quality reservoir rocks. "We are currently evaluating how this discovery can be connected to the existing infra-structure," says Tore Løseth, exploration vice president for North Sea. Skinfaks South is located directly west of the Gullfaks field in the North Sea Tampen area, where Statoil is focusing on infrastructure-led exploration (ILX).
"Our exploration strategy for the Norwegian continental shelf focuses both on high-impact discoveries and what we call time-critical ILX, which is exploration close to installations that within a couple of years will have the capacity to receive the oil and gas we find," Tore Løseth says. Gullfaks is a good example of how an area has developed after its first major discovery. Discovered in 1978 the Gullfaks field contained an estimated 2.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent. The discovery of fields such as Gullfaks South, Rimfaks and Valemon has later added another billion barrels of oil equivalent to the area.
Statoil has continued its exploration activities around Gullfaks, and in one year four new discoveries have been made: Rutil, Opal, Brent 10 A/B and now Skinfaks South. They will add a total of 50-100 million barrels of oil equivalents. In 2012, 40% of Statoil's exploration wells on the Norwegian continental shelf will be ILX wells. ILX drilling is to be carried out close to Oseberg, Snorre and Norne.