TRONDHEIM, Norway, June 26 Statoil and
its partners need more time to decide how they will develop the
$15.5 billion Johan Castberg oil field in the Arctic, Statoil's
chief executive told Reuters on Thursday.
An update on the status of the project had been expected
before the summer holidays, which in Norway tend to start at the
beginning of July.
"We need more time to mature the concept," Statoil CEO Helge
Lund told Reuters on the margins of a news conference. "It won't
be too long before we say more."
He did not say when this could happen.
Last year, the oil firm suspended the development of its
flagship Arctic project due to cost inflation and a tax hike.
Finding more resources was key to making the project
economically viable but in May the firm said the results of the
latest, and final, round of drilling were disappointing.
Two options are on the table: to transport the oil from the
field via a pipeline to a terminal on land where tankers would
load up, or have a floating production storage and offloading
(FPSO) facility at the field and load vessels there.
The latter is cheaper and Statoil has previously said it was
the more likely option.
Another Statoil executive said discussions about Johan
Castberg were currently taking place.
"The discussions are going on now," Arne Sigve Nylund,
Statoil's head of development and production for Norway, told
Statoil is the operator of Johan Castberg and has a stake of
50 percent. Italy's Eni has a stake of 30 percent and
Norwegian state-owned firm Petoro holds the remaining 20
(Reporting by Joachim Dagenborg Writing by Gwladys Fouche;
Editing by Mark Potter)