Statoil, one of the most successful oil explorers in recent years, sees offshore Angola and Russian shale as the industry’s next big plays and considers U.S. shale oil overhyped, its exploration chief Tim Dodson said.
The firm, which has expanded from its traditional North Sea base to all continents over the past decade, also expects to spend heavily on exploring in Brazil, Tanzania and the Arctic Barents Sea, possibly maintaining its record-high exploration budget, Dodson told Reuters in an interview.
Statoil, already a top offshore producer, needs new discoveries as it aims to lift production by a quarter to more than 2.5 million barrels a day this decade, and diversify its portfolio, still dominated by North Sea assets.
“I am very excited about (the Russian) shale opportunity,” Dodson said. “There is a huge, huge upside if it works,” he said, referring to the firm’s preliminary deal with Russia’s Rosneft in June to explore for shale in the Samara region in western Siberia’s Volga-Ural basin.
Russia’s shale oil potential is still not fully mapped but the Bazhenov formation in Siberia is already considered one of the largest, and ExxonMobil teamed up with Rosneft this year to begin drilling.
Dodson said Norwegian state-controlled Statoil hoped to finalize its own deal with Rosneft this year and could drill one or two wells in Siberia as soon as 2014 to test the region’s potential.
“It looks very, very much like the Bakken (in the United States) from a geological point of view in that you have limestone that can be fracked,” said Dodson, a Briton who joined Statoil in 1985 and rose through the ranks.
Read more at iOL.