• FOTO: Reuters/Scanpix

Statoil puts Arctic drilling on hold

Alaskan Arctic oil is not a part of Statoil’s plans until 2020, head of North America operations Bill Maloney says.

“We’re taking a break in Alaska,” he told news agency Bloomberg in an interview.

“We don’t anticipate any production from the Arctic in our production prognoses,” he added.

Statoil aims to produce 2.5 million barrels of oil equivalents per day by 2020, up some 500,000 barrels a day.

CFO Torgrim Reitan has told Aftenbladet, previously, that half a million barrels per day will come from Statoil's production in North America.

Mr Maloney says now none of this will be Alaska-originated.

Statoil does not wish rush into drilling in waters off Alaska following Shell’s recent decision to postpone drilling for oil in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off the US state’s coast. This decision was made after of a series of accidents and near accidents last year.

The company's 2012 drilling campaign was delayed because of problems with equipment on the rigs. Two wells were planned drilled last year, but the company had to abandon these plans since the time-window in waters is relatively short.

Moreover, the year ended with drilling rig Kulluk grounding in a storm while being towed ashore for the winter. The US government is investigating the incident, and has sent two rigs to Asia for repairs.

“I think we can all agree that it’s wise to learn from each other,” exploration director in Statoil, Tim Dodson said in an interview with Bloomberg.

“It’s is better to let time work for, rather than against you.”

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