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Norway's Equinor, Var Energi make 'significant' oil find in likely boost for Troll


Up to 120 million boe thought to be recoverable

Partnership adds to previous Troll area finds

Troll Phase 3 development to complete this year

London — Norway's Equinor has made a new "significant" light oil discovery near the Fram and Troll complex in the North Sea holding up to 120 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalent, Equinor and its partner Var Energi said March 24.

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The Blasto exploration well encountered two oil intervals in Jurassic age sandstone, thought to amount to 150 million-240 million barrels of oil equivalent "in place," or recoverable volumes of 75 million-120 million boe.

The find lies about 3 km southwest of the Fram field, and 11 km northwest of the Troll field in a water depths of 349 m, Equinor said.

The ownership of the license is the same as that for the Fram field, comprising Equinor on 45%, Var Energy -- majority-owned by Italy's Eni -- on 25%, with Japan's Idemitsu and private equity-backed Neptune Energy holding 15% each.

Fram is tied back to the Troll complex, one of Norway's highest oil producing areas and a major source of gas for the European market. Troll is also a component in S&P Global Platts' Dated Brent price assessment process.

Equinor is due to complete a Troll Phase 3 development this year, expected to provide another 2.2 billion boe in gas and oil production and extend production from the Troll complex out beyond 2050.

Equinor noted several other discoveries had been made near Fram in recent years, while Eni said in its own statement the discovery would be developed along with the 2019 Echino South find, made by the same partners and estimated at 38 million-100 million boe.

"The discovery revitalizes one of the most mature areas on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. With discoveries in four of four prospects in the Fram area during the past 18 months, we have proven volumes that in total will create considerable value for society," Equinor's senior vice president for Norwegian exploration, Nick Ashton, said in a statement.

Equinor added it would consider tying the discovery to other finds and nearby infrastructure, without providing further detail.

Eni said further exploration activity is planned in the area during 2021.