Statoil marching ahead with North Sea work

March 26, 2013 at 7:22 AM

STAVANGER, Norway, March 26 (UPI) -- Norwegian energy company Statoil said it was able to get its Stjerne project in the North Sea online faster than expected and under budget.

Statoil announced it took 39 months to bring the North Sea field online. Under a fast-track program, the company says it wants to cut that to 30 months for new projects.

Stjerne, the company's fifth fast-track project in production, is estimated to hold around 49 million barrels of oil equivalent, with most of the existing as natural gas.

Halfdan Knudsen, director of Statoil's fast-track development portfolio, said the project came onstream under budget.

"The project's economy appears to be better than expected," he said in a statement. "We are more than $85.9 million below what was foreseen when the investment decision was taken."

Knudsen said the company's "bold ambitions" offshore would proceed with safe operations in mind.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said production from February averaged 1.8 million barrels per day. That's about 5 percent less than for January.

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