* Sverdrup field largest oil find made in N.Sea for decades
* Result of Lundin well is "best ever" -partner Maersk
* Lundin well "encouraging" -analyst
(Adds Maersk, analyst, background)
OSLO/COPENHAGEN, March 27 Swedish oil firm
Lundin Petroleum and Norway's Statoil have
hit oil while drilling test wells at the giant Johan Sverdrup
field in the North Sea, an encouraging sign for the evaluation
of its contents.
Johan Sverdrup is the largest oil field discovered in the
North Sea for decades and its development one of the most
expensive industrial projects ever undertaken in Norway.
The field may contain up to 2.9 billion barrels of oil
equivalent which, if confirmed, would make it the third-largest
oil discovery made off the Nordic country.
Lundin Petroleum found a 54-metre column of which 13 metres
were of very good reservoir quality, the Norwegian Petroleum
Directorate said in a statement. Partner Maersk Oil said the
well test was "the best ever".
"This reduces the uncertainty in the subsurface," said
Morten Jeppesen, Managing Director for Maersk Oil Norway, a unit
of Danish shipping giant Maersk.
"(It) gives the partnership a better foundation to make
decisions on where the next development phase on Johan Sverdrup
should be," he said in a statement.
In another section of the field, which spreads over three
production licenses, Statoil encountered a 4.5 metre oil column
at a prospect called Geitungen. The company will now drill
another well to evaluate the section further.
The Lundin well was positive, said an analyst. "We believe
this is an encouraging data point," Swedbank's Teodor Sveen
Nilsen wrote in a note to clients.
But the result of the Statoil well, he said, was not
expected to have ay impact on the field's resource estimate.
The other partners in Sverdrup are Norway's Det norske
and state-holding firm Petoro.
At 1141 GMT, shares in Statoil traded 0.7 percent higher
while Det norske's were up by 1 percent, Lundin's rose by 0.1
percent and Maersk's were 0.2 percent higher. By comparison, the
Nordic benchmark index. traded at 0.5 percent lower
for the day.
Production at Sverdrup is expected to start in 2019 at an
initial cost estimated at 100 billion to 120 billion crowns
($16.4 billion-$19.7 billion).
(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche in Oslo and Ole Mikkelsen in
Copenhagen, editing by William Hardy)