Business Irish

Friday 22 September 2017

Tullow Oil strikes black gold off Norway coast after 10 failed attempts

Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

TULLOW OIL has struck oil off the coast of Norway after drilling at least 10 unsuccessful wells this year.

The mining company said its Wisting Central exploration well was the first-ever oil discovery in the Hoop-Maud Basin, located in the Barents Sea about 300km north of Hammerfest, Norway.

The company, which acquired a 20pc stake in the well when it bought niche Norwegian miner Spring Energy for $372m (€282m) last year, called it a "breakthrough oil discovery".

Operator OMV and Statoil also have an interest.

"This is a major frontier light oil discovery for Norway, Tullow Oil and our co-venturers," said Tullow's exploration director Angus McCoss.

Analysts estimated there are between 60 and 120 million recoverable barrels of oil at the well. The wider licence at the Hoop-Maud Basin is estimated to have as much as 200 million to 500 million barrels.

A new well at the same basin will now be drilled to investigate the area further.

The news is especially welcome given that Tullow has hit a number of setbacks in recent months.

The company has drilled at least 10 unsuccessful wells this year, including another located in Norway.

Earlier this week, it said an exploration well offshore Mozambique – jointly owned with Statoil and Inpex – did not discover either oil or gas and has now been plugged and abandoned.

In July, it said a similar well in Mozambique did not find gas in large enough quantities for it to be commercially viable, while it has also had problems in French Guiana off South America where it has been wildcatting after a major success there last year.

Shares in the London stock exchange listed company were up 2.6pc to £10.60 by yesterday afternoon. The company was the biggest riser on a mixed FTSE 100. "The stock deserves to push ahead," said Dublin stockbroking firm Davy.

Irish Independent

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