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Statoil set to widen Barents Sea exploration drilling

Statoil (STO) says it plans to drill two more wells in the wider area around the Johan Castberg field in the Barents Sea, in a bid to boost the project's profitability.

STO said earlier this month that a five-well, 12-month drilling campaign around the field had discovered less oil than expected, and that it was considering cheaper infrastructure options; now it is widening the drilling area with the Pingvin and Isfjell prospects.

STO says the prospects are independent from the Johan Castberg exploration campaign, but any discovery increasing the resource base in the area could be positive for the development of Johan Castberg.

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