STAVANGER, Norway, June 7 (UPI) -- The Norwegian government confirmed an oil discovery recorded by operator Statoil in the northern part of the North Sea.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate confirmed Statoil found an oil column that was about 78 feet thick while drilling an observation well in the Cook discovery area in the northern part of the North Sea.
The well was drilled in shallow waters to a vertical depth of 8,300 below the sea surface.
"The size of the discovery is still being assessed," the agency said in a statement Thursday. "The discovery is being evaluated regarding whether or not it may be commercially interesting."
Statoil in May said it encountered a 65-foot column of oil while drilling near the Grane field in the North Sea. The company said that discovery could hold as much as 33 million barrels of recoverable oil.
Statoil said this week it was reviewing development of the Johan Castberg project in the Barents Sea because of higher taxes on new energy development.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate in January estimated there were some 480 billion cubic feet of oil equivalents in its territorial waters, an increase of 1.5 billion compared to last year's estimate