The Norwegian operator Statoil confirmed today that it plans to drill 30 new exploration wells, increasing its exploration drilling by 30% in 2017. Three of these wells will be in the UK North Sea, however, the Barents Sea will remain the focal point of Statoil’s exploration activities.

“The Barents Sea has yielded several of Norway’s most significant oil discoveries in recent years. We are looking forward to testing new targets, both in the relatively well-known geology around in the Johan Castberg and Hoop/Wisting area, as well as some new frontier opportunities with greater geological uncertainty but also high impact potential. This campaign can provide us with crucial information about the long term future of the Norwegian shelf.” Tim Dodson, Executive Vice President for Exploration, Statoil

The firm will also be looking at options in Brazil, and the Gulf of Mexico after their take-over of Carcara Discovery last year, and onshore drilling in Turkey and Russia.