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Image courtesy of Øyvind Hagen/Statoil.

Russian oil giant Rosneft and Norway-based Statoil started exploration operations Monday at the Pingvin license PL713 prospect in the Norwegian section of the Barents Sea.

The first exploration well, Pingvin-1, will be drilled by the Transocean Spitsbergen rig.

The Transocean rig is owned by the Switzerland-based Transocean Ltd. and operated by Statoil.

The water depth at PL713 is about 1,384 feet (422 meters) and the drilling target total vertical depth is approximately 4,973 feet (1516 meters).

The companies will analyze the drilling results until the end of 2014.

Statoil is the operator of the license and is partnered with Rosneft subsidiary RN Nordic Oil, Norway-based North Energy and Edison International’s Norway Branch.

Rosneft holds a 20 percent participating interest in four fields in PL713.

Norway’s government estimates undiscovered resources in the Barents Sea stand at 8 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

The Barents Sea is north of Norway and is located on Russia’s northwestern coast.