Statoil Makes Significant North Sea Find

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Statoil, Norway's largest oil company, said it made a major oil discovery at its Krafla West prospect in the North Sea, news that could perhaps spur hope that the region's oil output is not declining as rapidly as some industry observers and analysts had previously forecast.

Statoil (STO) said preliminary estimates for the discovery show 12.6 million to 37.7 million barrels of recoverable reserves. The Nordic area of the North Sea is home to the bulk of the oil production because output has been steadily declining over the past few years in the U.K. area of the North Sea.

Statoil spokeswoman Gro Gunleiksrud Haatvedt said the finding ''must be considered a very substantial figure in a near-field context,'' and proves that the North Sea still has a ''considerable exploration potential,'' the Associated Press reported.

Statoil is the project's largest stakeholder with a 50% while Norwegian rival DNO ASA holds a 25% stake. Sweden's Svenska Petroleum Exploration AS owns the remaining 25%, according to the AP.