StatoilHydro Highlights Russia for Arctic Reserves

April 22, 2009
(Moscow Times ) - StatoilHydro, the world's largest offshore oil and gas operator, said Russia had the most promise in the push to explore the Arctic region's undiscovered reserves.

"In the northern territories, it is Russia that distinguishes itself, as it holds a large share of what is estimated to be the resource base in the Arctic territories," Bengt Lie Hansen, head of StatoilHydro in Russia, said in an interview at Melkoeya, off Norway's northern tip. "Our focus, to a large extent, is Russia."

StatoilHydro, which has operating rights on about 80 percent of Norway's oil and gas production, is involved in four Arctic projects, including the Snoehvit liquefied natural gas plant on Melkoeya. It has a 24 percent stake in Gazprom's Shtokman gas project, a 40 percent stake in the Russian Kharyaga oil field operated by Total and has teamed up with Eni to develop the Goliat field, the first Barents Sea oil development.

The company is looking to expand into the Arctic to compensate for dwindling North Sea reserves. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the Arctic holds 22 percent of the world's untapped oil and gas.

"Russia is interesting because its resource potential is big based on the general analyses, but we don't know if the resources are there until we've drilled, and there's very little drilling that has been done," Lie Hansen said. "But they've done finds such as Shtokman that contain approximately as much gas found on the Norwegian continental shelf to date -- that's just one discovery."

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