Statoil said that it will make its final investment decision on the Johan Castberg oil field development project in the Barents Sea by the end of this year.

Considered to be one of the largest projects of Statoil, the Johan Castberg field will be developed at a cost of NOK50bn ($5.9bn). Statoil expects the project to see annual investments of about NOK1.15bn ($140m) for the operation of the field.

The Johan Castberg project, which is slated to come on stream in 2022, will have an operating life of 30 years.

Statoil expects major spinoffs in North Norway to provide overall operational support to Johan Castberg.

As per the oil and gas giant, operation of the field will be backed by a supply and helicopter base in Hammerfest along with an operations organisation in Harstad, both in Norway. Hundreds of jobs are expected to be created for the locals in the country.

Statoil has revealed that about 90-100 employees will be working at an offshore base in Finnmark country in three shifts.

Statoil operations north cluster senior vice president Siri Espedal Kindem said: “To ensure a long-term development of petroleum-related specialist jobs in Finnmark, Statoil will, in collaboration with other operating companies, suppliers and local authorities before the plan for development and operation is submitted to the authorities, look at possible initiatives to upgrade the general petroleum competence level in Hammerfest and Finnmark.”

The Johan Castberg project includes discoveries made by Statoil in Skrugard in 2011, Havis in 2012 and Drivis in 2014. It is estimated to have 400-650 million barrels of proven volumes of oil.

Image: Johan Castberg floating production vessel. Photo: courtesy of Statoil ASA.