Statoil has been granted safety consent to drill a third wildcat in the Barents Sea off Norway as part of an ongoing exploration campaign.

The 7325/4-1 probe at the Gemini Nord prospect will be drilled, like the first two, with semi-submersible rig Songa Enabler in a water depth of 447 metres in the frontier Hoop area, about 200 kilometres south of the Bear Island nature reserve.

Drilling is scheduled to kick off later this month after completion of the second well at the Kayak prospect and has an estimated duration of 19 days.