Statoil, along with Austrian integrated oil and gas firm OMV and Norway State wholly-owned oil and gas company Petoro, has made a small gas discovery in the Gemini North well, northeast of the Wisting discovery in the Barents Sea off Norway.

The well was drilled in license PL 855, in the Hoop area, about 30km northeast of the Wisting discovery.

This is the first well drilled in the acreage awarded in Norway’s 23rd licensing round, Statoil said.

Recoverable volumes are estimated to be 0.4-1 billion standard cubic meters, approximately 2-6 million barrels of oil equivalent.

In addition, there was proved oil, amounting to approximately 0.5-2 million barrels of recoverable oil.

Jez Averty, senior vice president for exploration in Norway and the UK, said: “The well was drilled with the ambition of proving up additional oil resources in the vicinity of the Wisting discovery, but like the previous Blåmann well, we discovered gas.

“While this well proved a non-commercial gas discovery, the results provide grounds for cautious optimism for additional potential both within this license and the Hoop Area.

“We have over time secured a significant portfolio in the Hoop-area and what we have learned from this well will be important when we plan to test some of that acreage in 2018.”

Gemini North is the third discovery in Statoil’s 2017 Barents Sea exploration campaign, following the Kayak oil discovery announced on 3 July and the Blamann gas discovery announced on 17 July.

Statoil is the operator of Gemini North with 55% stake, with partners OMV and Petoro holding 25% and 20% respectively. 

The ‘Songa Enabler’ semisubmersible drilling rig, which drilled the Gemini North well, will now move to the Korpfjell prospect in license PL859 in the Barents Sea southeast.