Faroe prepares to drill its first well in Norway’s Barents Sea

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FAROE Petroleum is preparing for drilling to begin on its first exploration well in Norway’s Barents Sea after the Aker Barents rig was hired for the job.

Work on the “high-impact” Darwin prospect, which was bought from Talisman Energy in August, is expected to begin “shortly”, with Spanish oil giant Repsol operating the rig.

Graham Stewart, chief executive at Aberdeen-based Faroe, said: “Darwin is a very exciting prospect, and follows only a few months after Statoil’s nearby successes with the giant Skrugard and Havis oil discoveries.

“In the meantime, we await the near-term results of another frontier well, North Uist, located west of Shetland, which has suffered lengthy delays due to technical drilling difficulties.”

Faroe’s other partners on the well are Concedo, Det Norske, Marathon, RWE and Talisman.

The Scottish driller said that the Hyme oil field in the Norwegian Sea has also come on stream, which will generated between 10 per cent and 15 per cent of Faroe’s daily production.

Stewart added: “We are delighted to see the Hyme oilfield come on stream on schedule and on budget.

“This important, high-quality field, will provide a significant boost to our production income and funding for the forward [drilling] programme.”

Faroe paid about £37.5 million towards the £520m cost of Hyme, which was developed by Statoil, along with Core Energy, Eon, GDF Suez and VNG.

Faroe’s operational update came as fellow Granite City driller Bridge Energy unveiled an independent assessment of its oil reserves, which showed its “proved and probable developed reserves” rose by about 22 per cent during 2012 to the equivalent of 3.26 million barrels through acquisitions, developments and exploration.