* Says Johan Castberg should have a plant on land
* Petoro manages Norway state's interests in offshore fields
OSLO May 8 Energy firms need to halve the costs
of drilling for oil and gas off Norway and drill twice as many
wells per year to prolong the country's oil and gas production,
a state-owned oil firm said on Thursday, underscoring the
challenges facing the industry.
Years of cost inflation in the oil sector have squeezed
energy firms' margins, leading to several projects being put on
hold, such as Statoil's $15.5-billion Johan Castberg
oilfield in the Arctic.
"Petoro wants to double the number of wells and to halve the
costs per well to realise the full value potential of the
Norwegian state's stake in both existing fields and
discoveries," the state-owned firm said on Thursday.
Petoro has no operations of its own but manages the
Norwegian state's direct ownership stakes in offshore oil and
gas fields and participates in most oil and gas fields off
"I'm confident that, through simplification, technology
(that) increases cost effectiveness and a cultural shift away
from seeking fault-free operation to pursuing efficiency, we can
achieve radical efficiency gains," Petoro chief Grethe Moen said
in a statement.
On Johan Castberg, Petoro said Statoil and partners should
go ahead with building a plant on land to process the oil,
rather than a floating offshore installation, as it would ensure
there are installations available to process oil from potential
new discoveries in the Norwegian Arctic.
"The way we develop Johan Castberg will hold great
significance for how we develop large swathes of the Barents
Sea," said Moen.
"We hold stakes in several licenses in the north of Norway
and we want to have infrastructure that ensure the profitability
of these projects."
Statoil is the operator of Castberg and has a 50-percent
stake. Italy's Eni has a 30-percent stake while Petoro
holds the remaining 20 percent.
(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; Editing by Mark Potter)