The move is part of company’s plan to optimize exploration portfolio and follows the recent move by oil and gas giant Royal Dutch Shell to exit exploration work at its Burger discovery in the Arctic area.

Statoil plans to abandon 16 operated leases, which located 37 miles north of Shell’s Burger discovery in Chukchi Sea, as well as stake in 50 leases, which are operated by ConocoPhillips.

Statoil’s leases in the Chukchi Sea are set to expire in 2020.

The move is also a part of Statoil’s effort to boost financial performance, and position for long-term value.

Statoil exploration executive vice-president Tim Dodson said: "Since 2008 we have worked to progress our options in Alaska. Solid work has been carried out, but given the current outlook we could not support continued efforts to mature these opportunities."

Additionally, Statoil is considering closing its office in Anchorage, Alaska.

Shell has sealed and abandoned the Burger J exploration well, located in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, following discovery of insufficient amount of oil and gas.

The company said that the identified oil and gas in the well is insufficient to carry out further exploration in the Burger prospect.

Located offshore Alaska northwest of Prudhoe Bay, the Chukchi Sea comprises 5354 blocks and is estimated to hold about 15 billion bbl of recoverable oil and about 76 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of recoverable natural gas.

The Arctic is estimated to host approximately 20% of the world’s unclaimed oil and gas reserves.

Image: Statoil exploration executive vice-president Tim Dodson. Photo: courtesy of Statoil.