STAVANGER, Norway, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Norwegian energy company Statoil announced it entered into contracts worth $1.6 billion to secure more rigs for the Norwegian continental shelf.
The company said it secured three rigs for production drilling offshore.
"Securing three rigs in the current market represents a real achievement for the Norwegian shelf," Oystein Michelson, a Statoil vice president for production, said in a statement.
"The rig capacity we have secured in these contracts will contribute to achieving our production targets toward 2020, through production drilling on several of our legacy assets and starting production from fast-track."
In September, the company announced that construction started on a $41.6 million research center that was part of efforts to increase recovery rates of natural resources on the continental shelf to 60 percent. About half of Statoil's research budget was set aside to help improve recovery rates.
Statoil's drilling chief, Oystein Arvid Haland, said increasing recovery from existing fields on the continental shelf was an important part of the company's overall strategy.
Rig contracts awarded by Statoil enter into force as early as the fourth quarter of 2013.
Norway is the largest oil producer in Europe and the second-largest exporter of natural gas after Russia.