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Statoil senior VP Erling Vågnes. Image courtesy of Ole Jørgen Bratland/Statoil.

Norway’s Statoil won a 100 percent equity share in a huge offshore exploration permit in an untested part of the Northern Carnarvon Basin on Australia’s northwest shelf.

The permit, WA-506-P, covers over 5,000 square miles and is 186 miles off Western Australia’s coast in water depths of 4,921 to 6,561 feet.

Statoil has committed to a working program that will collect 1,242 line miles of 2D seismic data and 1,351 square miles of 3D seismic data within three years.

The company will decide its plan of action based on the results of the analysis.

Other parts of the Northern Carnarvon Basin have already proved large volumes of gas with multiple fields in production and established infrastructure already in place, Statoil said.

WA-506-Ps is Statoil’s third asset in Australia, adding to the onshore operatorship in the Northern Territory’s South Georgina basin and four BP-operated offshore permits in the Great Australian Bight.

The permit was awarded by Australia’s National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator through the 2013 offshore petroleum exploration acreage release.

“This award adds another large acreage position with high-impact potential to our global portfolio, in line with our exploration strategy. This is an untested part of a prolific basin, offering significant upside potential,” Statoil’s senior vice president for exploration in the Eastern hemisphere Erling Vågnes said.