Oct. 16 (UPI) -- The Norwegian government said Monday it signed off on new plans for oil drilling and exploration work in the national waters of the North Sea.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said it gave Statoil approval to drill an exploration well in the shallow waters of North Sea. Drilling starts in November and will run for about 99 days, depending on whether or not the company makes a discovery.
Elsewhere, Statoil secured approval to start drilling in the Troll field in the North Sea later this month.
"The Troll field is ... the largest gas discovery made in the North Sea," the NPD stated.
Statoil, which is co-owned by the Norwegian government, is one of the larger oil and gas producers in the world. When announcing results for the first half, the company said that it's posted nine discoveries so far this year and several of those could "quickly be put into profitable production."
The company said its equity production in the second quarter, not counting portfolio changes, was 3 percent higher than the same period last year. For the year, Statoil said production growth should be around 7 percent.
The maturation of some of the basins in the North Sea has prompted some companies to shift strategies. BP in April sold off some of its legacy holdings as it reconfigured its regional operations by parting ways with a pipeline system tied to Forties crude oil, a component of the Brent basket. Oil from the Troll field, meanwhile, will be added to the Brent crude oil basket, which serves as the benchmark for the price of crude oil.
A new discovery made by Statoil in August, made in the British waters of the North Sea, holds between 25 million and 130 million barrels of recoverable oil. The company said the discovery solidified the future for a maturing basin in the North Sea, where it believes significant potential remains.