Faroe Petroleum, an company with development and production assets across the Atlantic Margin, the UK and Norwegian Sea, said that drilling has begun on the Maria prospect, located in the Norwegian Sea.

The Maria prospect (Blocks 6407/1 & 6406/3) is situated on the North East Halten Terrace, between Smorbukk Sor (8km to the north) and the Trestakk oil fields and the Tyrihans gas fields.

License PL 475BS was awarded in APA 2008 with an initial two year period, and a firm well commitment. The current equity holders in the license are Wintershall Norge 25% (operator), Concedo 10%, Spring Energy Norway 15%, Centrica Resources (Norge) 20%, and Faroe Petroleum Norge 30%.

Well 6406/3-5 which was drilled in 1988 encountered oil shows and is considered to have been located down dip of the Maria prospect. The prospect consists of two possible accumulations, Maria South and Maria North, located up dip to the south west and north east of the 6406/3-5 well respectively. The Maria well will target Maria South.

The drilling operation, to be undertaken by the operator Wintershall, that holds 25% interest in maria prospect, using the Songa Delta drilling rig, is expected to take approximately 53 days.

Graham Stewart, CEO of Faroe Petroleum, said: ”We are pleased to announce the spudding of our second high impact well on the Halten Terrace in the Norwegian Sea, which follows the recently announced and nearby Fogelberg discovery.

”The next three 2010 exploration wells will be drilled in the deep water Atlantic margin, and will all be targeting substantial oil prospects. These are the Anne Marie well in the Faroe Islands operated by Eni, North Uist/Cardhu in the UK operated by BP and Lagavulin in the UK operated by Chevron.”