STAVANGER, Norway, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Consent is given to energy company Statoil to start drilling an appraisal well in the Johan Sverdrup oil field in the North Sea, the Norwegian government said.
The Petroleum Safety Authority of Norway said it gave its approval for the drilling of an appraisal well. Drilling into the Johan Svedrup oil field is scheduled to start in December and should last 30 days.
"The field is under development and production is planned to start in 2019," the safety regulator said.
Developed over a series of phases, operator Statoil said the Johan Sverdrup oil field should account for up to 25 percent of total Norwegian petroleum production once at peak capacity.
Statoil and its partners at Johan Sverdrup, Maersk Oil and Lundin Petroleum, in early 2014 outlined the development plan for the field using multiple phases. The field will be developed using four fixed facilities.
By its latest estimate, Statoil said the project will be competitive so long as crude oil prices hold above the $30 per barrel mark. Brent crude oil sold for around $47 per barrel in early Monday trading.
The Petroleum Safety Authority of Norway issued the preliminary results of an October audit of Statoil's procurement processes and the fabrication of parts of the infrastructure that will be used for production from the Johan Sverdrup field and found no issues.
Norway is among the top suppliers of fossils fuels to the European economy. The National Petroleum Directorate said preliminary production estimates for oil, natural gas liquids and an ultra-light product called condensate was about 30 percent higher than the previous month.
For oil, the 1.71 million barrels of oil produced per day on average was 4 percent above October 2015 and 10 percent more than the government expected. Final production figures for oil from September show an average 1.39 barrels of oil per day.