Statoil said Monday it encountered a natural gas layer measuring 130 feet thick while drilling in its Smorbukk North prospect, part of the Asgard complex in the Norwegian Sea. The company said the discovery could contain as much as 47 million barrels of oil equivalent.
Senior Vice President for exploration Gro Haatvedt said Asgard has been active for more than 30 years.
"The three discoveries comprising the Asgard field were all made in the 1980s," she said in a statement. "Making a new discovery in the area 30 years later is encouraging and proves the exciting remaining potential on the Norwegian Continental Shelf."
Statoil said the new find could be developed quickly because of existing production infrastructure in the region. Haatvedt said operations so far at the Smorbukk North prospect are 21 days ahead of schedule.
Norway is a European leader in terms of oil and natural gas production. The government said last week the average daily production of oil and associated products was more than 1.9 million barrels for July, a 15 percent increase from the previous month. Natural gas production of approximately 325 billion cubic feet was 11 percent more than in June.