Norway's state-controlled oil company Statoil and its partners in the production license PL479 have discovered gas and condensate in an exploration well 6506/9-3 in the Smørbukk North prospect at Haltenbanken area.

The company operates the license with 40.95% interest, while other partners are Eni Norge, Petoro, ExxonMobil Exploration & Production Norway and Total E&P Norge with 19.6%, 14.95%, 14.7% and 9.8% interests, respectively.

A 40m gas/condensate column was found in a down-to situation in the Garn formation of mid-Jurassic age, while a thin gas/condensate column was proven deeper in the mid-Jurassic Ile formation.

Recoverable volumes in the well are estimated to be in the range of 25-47 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalent.

Statoil Norway senior-vice president exploration Gro G. Haatvedt exploration said this is the first discovery in the area since three discovery wells were drilled in Åsgard field in the 1980s.

Åsgard operations vice-president Astrid Jørgenvåg said, "Being located directly north of the Åsgard field, the Smørbukk North discovery could be developed quickly and efficiently through a tie-in to existing infrastructure, providing fast resources and potentially extending the production life of the Åsgard production facilities."

"Smørbukk North was a demanding well to drill, but due to thorough planning and extra HSE focus, the operations have so far been carried out without serious incidents and are currently 21 days ahead of schedule, Haatvedt added.