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Jurassic find gives Shell hope of brighter future

Daily Telegraph: Jurassic find gives Shell hope of brighter future


By Christopher Hope, Business Correspondent (Filed: 24/05/2005)


Shell, which is restructuring itself after losing 25pc of its proved oil and gas reserves last year, yesterday announced one of its biggest finds of the year off the coast of Norway.


The Anglo-Dutch energy giant said it had made a “significant discovery in sandstones of Jurassic age” in its Onyx South West prospect in the Norwegian Sea, more than 5,000 metres below sea level, 150 kilometres north of Kristiansund.


Shell was coy about the size of the find but the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said it could be as much as 60billion cubic metres of producing gas.


The discovery, which equates to 377m barrels of oil, is a minnow compared with nearby fields like Ormen Lange (375billion cu m) and Troll (1.32trillion cu m) but it is Shell’s most important find off the coast of Norway since the Draugen oil field in 1984. It is also the biggest in the region by any oil company for five years.


Einar Knudsen, a Shell Norske spokesman, said: “It is important but it is a little too early to say how big it is and if and when it can be developed.”


Norske Shell is now planning to drill an appraisal well at the discovery and a wildcat on another prospect in the same production licence in the second half of next year.


Shell owns 30pc of the field, making the potential discovery one of the key “Big Cats” which Malcolm Brinded, Shell’s exploration and production director, has pledged to look for to bolster Shell’s low proven reserves levels. Other partners include Norway’s Statoil (20pc) and Petoro (30pc) and French oil and gas major Total (20pc).


A Shell spokesman in London, said: “To qualify as a Big Cat, a prospect would need to contain recoverable volumes at least 100m barrels of oil equivalent. Onyx South West has the potential to contain this volume.”

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