April 20 (UPI) -- Norwegian energy company Statoil can spend the next month or so drilling an exploration well in a prospect in the Barents Sea, the government said.
"Statoil is the operator for production license 532 in the Barents Sea and has received consent to drill exploration well 7219/9-2 in a prospect named Kayak," the Petroleum Safety Authority of Norway said in a statement.
The company will use a mobile drilling rig for the well and drilling should last around 27 days, the government said. The site is about 85 miles northwest of the Goliat license area in the Barents Sea.
Production from Goliat comes from 12 oil-producing wells. A peak rate of 100,000 barrels of oil per day is expected.
The reserve area lies within Arctic waters. The Norwegian government has called on energy companies working there to observe requirements related to distance from ice sheets "so the environmental assets along the ice edge are safeguarded."
Statoil said at least five wells are slated for the Barents Sea, which it singled out as the core of its exploration plans for 2017. The Norwegian government estimates there are roughly 18 billion barrels of oil equivalent yet to be discovered in Norwegian waters and half of that is in the Barents Sea.
Norway has the largest oil and gas reserves of any European country and is a main regional supplier to the market apart from Russia. It's the third largest gas exporter in the world and nearly all of its crude oil exports target Europe.