Dec. 4 (UPI) -- The Norwegian subsidiary of Lundin Petroleum said it started drilling into an area in the Barents Sea thought to hold more than 200 million barrels in reserves.
Lundin Norway said it started drilling an exploration well in the so-called Hurri prospect in the southern waters of the Barents Sea. The prospect is located a little more than a mile away from the proved Filicudi oil discovery and south of the giant Johan Castberg oil discovery, operated by Norwegian energy major Statoil.
"The Hurri prospect is estimated to contain gross unrisked prospective resources of 218 million barrels of oil equivalent," the company said in a statement Monday.
The company estimates its Filicudi discovery holds between 35 million and 100 million barrels of oil equivalent. Statoil estimates Johan Castberg holds between 450 million and 650 million barrels of oil equivalent. As many as 30 wells are planned for the field in the five years ending in 2024.
Norway is one of the main oil and gas suppliers for the European economy, sending nearly all of what it produces offshore to its European partners. The government said the most recent revision for Barents Sea reserves is roughly equivalent to 14 Johan Castberg fields.
Lundin reported production for the three months ending Sept. 30 of 89.2 million barrels of oil equivalent, an increase of about 30 percent from the same period last year. Earnings more than doubled over the same period last year to $517.2 million.
Last year, Norwegian energy giant Statoil spent $538 million to acquire an 11.9 percent stake in Lundin, and the company this year spun off its non-Norwegian production assets into a company called International Petroleum Corp.