UK-based independent oil and gas company Faroe Petroleum has commenced the drilling of Darwin exploration well (7218/11-1) in the Norwegian Barents Sea.

The Darwin prospect situated on the Veslemøy High in the frontier western part of the Barents Sea spans about 60km to 80km from Statoil’s recent oil discoveries Skrugard and Havis.

During the 3D seismic of the prospect, multiple targets were identified and the 7218/11-1 will test the Darwin prospect and add towards the further de-risking of the large upside potential in the remainder of the licence area.

Faroe Petroleum chief executive Graham Stewart said the company is drilling its first high impact wildcat well in the highly prospective Barents Sea.

"This well is located in the promising western part of the Barents Sea – an area where a major breakthrough was achieved in 2011 with the giant Skrugard oil discovery," Stewart added.

"We have an active 2013 exploration drilling programme which includes several high impact exploration wells including Novus (Norwegian Sea) and two Butch wells (Norwegian North Sea)."

Faroe Petroleum holds 12.5% interest in the well, where as Repsol Exploration with 20% interest is operating the drilling operations.

Other partners in the project include Talisman Energy, Marathon Oil, RWE Dea, Det norske oljeselskap and Concedo, holding 12.5%, 10%, 15%, 10% and 20%, respectively.