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Austria's OMV makes two 'significant' Norwegian Sea natural gas finds


Potential recoverable gas of up to 40 Bcm at Hades, Iris

Discoveries considerably higher than pre-drill estimates

Located close to infrastructure, producing Asgard field

Austria's OMV has made two "significant" gas and condensate discoveries in the Norwegian Sea, the company said Wednesday, with a combined potential size of 40-245 million barrels of oil equivalent -- in gas terms the equivalent of 6.4-40 Bcm.

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The discoveries -- made with one well designed to explore both the Hades and Iris prospects -- will give further impetus to drilling campaigns on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, buoyed by continued success in areas with existing gas finds.

"Hades and Iris could be of significant size and the licensees will evaluate and further investigate the potential of the discoveries," Knut Mauseth, managing director of OMV (Norge), said in a statement.

OMV operates the high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) well with a 30% stake. Its partners are state-controlled Statoil (30%), UK-listed Faroe Petroleum (20%) and the UK's Spirit Energy -- the joint venture of Centrica's upstream business and Bayerngas -- with 20%.

The preliminary result from the well is based on data gathered from both reservoir intervals and indicates a discovery size for Hades of 20-115 million recoverable barrels of oil equivalent, and for Iris an estimated discovery size of 20-130 million recoverable barrels of oil equivalent, OMV said.

Mauseth said it was the first HPHT well OMV has drilled on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

The well is close to the existing infrastructure of the producing Morvin field and the Asgard field, OMV said, in water depths of 342 meters.

Project partner Faroe said it was just 20 km from Asgard "where large quantities of gas and condensate continue to be produced and transported to several landing points on the European continent."

Faroe CEO Graham Stewart said the size of the discoveries at both the Hades and Iris prospects was "well in excess" of pre-drill estimates.

The company's shares were up 12.1% in early trading in London after the gas finds were announced.


The announcement also came as Norway's DNO in a separate statement said Wednesday it had agreed to acquire a 15.4% stake in Faroe from Israel's Delek Group.

DNO re-entered the North Sea upstream sector in 2017 after a six-year hiatus during which time the company built a Middle East presence anchored by the DNO-operated Tawke field in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

"DNO now has decided to build a long-term strategic shareholding in Faroe Petroleum and to support Faroe Petroleum management's growth focused North Sea strategy," it said.

Following Norway's latest mature licensing round last year, DNO holds interests in 19 exploration licenses offshore Norway and the UK.

In addition to its direct stake in these licenses, the company has said it would pursue "additional strategic investments and partnerships with established North Sea players."

--Stuart Elliott,
--Edited by Jeremy Lovell,