* New well indicates field reaches into a third licence
* Could add 2-3 pct to Sverdrup potential - analyst
(Adds detail, analyst, background)
OSLO, March 19 The giant Johan Sverdrup oil
field in the Norwegian North Sea extends into a nearby licence,
suggesting it may contain slightly more resources than
previously assumed, Statoil said on Tuesday.
The field, Norway's biggest discovery in decades, was
already known to lie across two licenses and was estimated to
hold up to 3.3 billion barrels of oil.
A new well now indicates it reaches into a third licence
where a large oil column was discovered, proving "a small
additional upside to the field's resources", Statoil and partner
Det norske said.
"They don't provide volumes so it's a little bit
speculative," said Thomas Aarestad, an analyst at brokerage
"Based on Det norske's earlier estimations of the license
... we're talking about a 2-3 percent additional volume for
The additional discovery is positive for the firms but could
complicate development as the three licences have different
ownership structures and firms will have to agree on new stakes.
Statoil, which operates two of the three licences, and
Lundin Petroleum, which operates the third, plan
further appraisal wells this year and expect a new resource
estimate before the end of 2013.
Oil production in Norway, the world's seventh biggest
exporter, is expected to fall to a 25-year low this year, but
new discoveries like Sverdrup will boost production toward the
end of the decade, extending the life of North Sea oil well into
the next decade.
In the new discovery in license 502, Statoil has a 44.4
percent stake, state-holding firm Petoro has 33.3 percent and
Det norske owns 22.2 percent.
In license 501, Statoil has 40 percent, Lundin 40 percent
and Maersk 20 percent. In license 265, Statoil has
40 percent, Petoro 30 percent, Det norske 20 percent and Lundin
(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche and Balazs Koranyi; Editing by