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Image courtesy of Kjetil Eide/ Statoil.

Norway’s Statoil said on Wednesday that it’s planning to drill more than two dozen exploratory wells as part of its 2017 exploration plan.

Statoil executive vice president for exploration Tim Dodson said that the company plans to drill around 30 exploration wells as operator and partner.

That figure marks a 30 percent increase from the number of exploration wells the company drilled in 2016.

“The upcoming well program is balanced between proven, well known basins and new frontier opportunities,” Dodson said.

Dodson added that the company’s exploration drilling plans are dependent on permitting, rig availability and partner approvals.

Statoil expects to complete 16 to 18 exploration wells in the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) as part of its 2017 program.

The company said that a five to seven exploration well campaign in the Barents Sea will be at the core of its Norway activity plan.

Statoil said it hopes to “prove near field volumes to prolong the productive lifetime of existing infrastructure and determine the growth potential” in both the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea.

Statoil’s 2017 international exploration drilling program will focus on growth opportunities in basins where the company has already established discoveries and producing fields along with “new frontier opportunities.”

“Following our take-over as operator for the Carcara discovery last summer, Brazil has become even more important in Statoil’s portfolio, not least on the exploration front. We are stepping up exploration also in the UK, with plans for three Statoil operated exploration wells in 2017,” Dodson said.

Statoil said it’s also planning to spud partner operated wells in established basins like the U.S Gulf of Mexico and in new frontier areas such as Indonesia and Suriname.

Statoil also plans to partner in onshore exploration drilling planned in Russia and Turkey.

In 2016, Statoil completed a total of 23 exploration wells as operator and partner with 14 of those wells located on the NCS.

“The 2017 exploration plans demonstrate our long term commitment to the NCS, while we continue to position the company for global opportunities. If everything goes to plan, we will this year have exploration drilling activity in 11 countries on five continents,” Dodson said.