Statoil sizes up off Colombia

Statoil has increased its footprint in the Colombia offshore scene through a pair of farm-in deals with Spain's Repsol.

The Norwegian state-controlled player is not getting any operated acreage, but is significantly boosting its presence following an earlier award of acreage in Colombia's recent offshore licensing round.

Statoil is taking a 10% interest in the Tayrona block, which is operated by Brazilian state giant Petrobras on 40%.

The deal will leave Repsol with 20% and Colombain state player Ecopetrol on 30%.

The tract covers some 16,500 square kilometres and sits in water depths of between 50 and 1500 metres.

Block partners are currently drilling the Orca-1 wildcat on the licence.

Statoil is also getting a 20% stake in the Guajira Offshore 1 licence from Repsol, which will leave the Spanish operator on 30% and Ecopetrol with 50%.

The 12,200-square-kilometre tract sits in water depths between 1500 and 3500 metres and has already had 2D seismic.

A round of 3D seismic is set to begin by the end of the year.

In late July Statoil was awarded a 33.33% share of the deep-water COL-4 block, operated by Repsol on 33.34%, with ExxonMobil also on 33.33%. This was Statoil's maiden splash in the emerging hydrocarbons powerhouse.

Nick Maden, senior vice president for Statoil's exploration activities in the Western Hemisphere, said of the Repsol deals on Thursday: "With the recent award of the COL4 licence in the 2014 Colombia licencing round and the farm-in agreements with Repsol, Statoil is well positioned in deep-water offshore Colombia.

"We are gaining access to a vast underexplored frontier area through early access at scale, which is in line with Statoil’s exploration strategy."

On the Tayrona block, Petrobras brought in the Diamond Offshore drillship Ocean Clipper from Brazil in June to drill the Orca-1 wildcat, targeting Lower Miocene and Oligocene reservoirs more than 4500 metres below the seabed in the Guajira basin.

Repsol described Orca as having a very large four-way closure, of almost 500 square metres, in the lower Miocene.

The wildcat is being drilled on a gas condensate structure that has multi-trillion cubic feet of gas potential in a water depth of more than 600 metres.

Statoil's farm-in news came after it had earlier on Thursday revealed a duster off Angola and a non-commercial find the US Gulf of Mexico.

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