March 1 (UPI) -- Three new wells are planned as part of a multi-million-dollar drilling campaign that includes testing a new oil discovery made in British waters, Statoil said.
Nearly $40 million in drilling contracts were awarded for drilling in Norwegian and British waters this summer. Statoil awarded two contracts to Seadrill companies for use of the West Phoenix semi-submersible rig, first for one exploration well in Norwegian waters, and then for three wells in British waters.
Combined, the contracts have an estimated value of $38 million. With three wells planned for British waters, Statoil said the rig commitment was a testament to the region's durability.
"We hope to make new discoveries that can add value and provide the resources necessary for new developments on the British continental shelf," Jenny Morris, a regional director for Statoil, said in a statement. "We are pleased to have secured a modern rig allowing us to mature and test our portfolio in a timely manner."
Millions of barrels of oil were uncovered while drilling into the British waters of the North Sea by Statoil last year. The company said it made a new oil discovery while drilling into Verbier basin, where preliminary data show an estimated 25 million to 130 million barrels of recoverable oil.
The discovery solidified the future for a maturing basin in the North Sea, where Statoil believes significant potential remains. Statoil said the West Phoenix rig will work to clarify the volume of last year's discovery.
Statoil started work in the British waters of the North Sea in 2015, working alongside British energy company BP. The Norwegian energy company said its Mariner field in the region holds an estimated 250 billion barrels of oil and peak production should be around 55,000 barrels of oil per day.