Equinor to drill more oil and gas exploration wells off Norway in 2022

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Equinor's logo is seen at the company's headquarters in Stavanger, Norway December 5, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

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OSLO, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Equinor (EQNR.OL) will drill more oil and gas exploration wells off its native Norway in 2022 than this year to help sustain the company's future cash flow, a senior executive said on Tuesday.

The majority state-owned company plans to drill 25 exploration well in Norway, up from 16 wells this year, focusing on areas near its existing fields and platforms, Equinor's head of exploration Norway, Jez Averty, told Reuters.

"Exploration is the key to future value creation on the Norwegian continental shelf, future value creation is the key to cash flow, which is the key to delivering on the energy transition," he said.

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Equinor will drill about 80% of its exploration wells next year near existing fields, including in the Arctic Barents Sea, as potential discoveries could be developed in a short time, Averty said.

Averty said the planned 25 exploration wells in Norway were estimated to cost between $300 million and $400 million.

Internationally, Equinor plans to drill around 10-13 exploration wells next year, including in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, offshore Canada, Angola and Brazil, as well as in East Siberia, onshore Russia, a spokesperson for the company said.

Equinor plans to spend around $900 million on exploration globally this year, but it no longer provides a comparable guidance for 2022.

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Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Terje Solsvik and David Evans

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