Sterling Resources confirms North Sea Cladhan find

* Confirms excellent thick oil bearing

* Says initial drilling exceeded its expectations

* Wintershall, Encore Oil both own stakes in Cladhan fields

LONDON, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Canadian oil and gas company Sterling Resources SLG.V said initial drilling at the Cladhan well exceeded expectations, confirming reports of the latest in a string of large discoveries in the North Sea. [ID:nLDE67S088]

Sterling, the operator of the Cladhan licence and which owns a 40 percent stake, said the reservoir quality at the appraisal well was excellent with average oil saturations of 86 percent.

This followed the biggest find in the North Sea since 2001 when the 300 million barrel Catcher field was identified in June. [ID:nLDE65R0DE] [ID:nSGE679096]

German oil firm Wintershall BASFn.DE and British oil and gas explorer Encore Oil EO.L, both of which have stakes in the Catcher field, own stakes of 34 percent and 17 percent stake respectively in Cladhan. Dyas owns a 10 percent stake.

“These results so far exceed our expectations of the quality and extent of the channel sand in this area of the Cladhan reservoir,” Sterling’s president and chief executive Mike Azancot said.

Sterling said drill stem testing will now be performed, which it is confident will confirm commerciality of the Cladhan field, 360 kilometres northeast of Aberdeen, Scotland. (Reporting by Lorraine Turner; Editing by Dan Lalor)