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Image courtesy of Jonathan Bachman/AP/Statoil.

Norway’s Statoil said on Tuesday that it has made a new oil discovery in the Norwegian Sea that could hold as many as 80 million barrels of oil.

According to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, Statoil’s Cape Vulture exploration well encountered petroleum at two levels in the Lange formation in production licence 128.

In the well’s primary exploration target, the well encountered a total oil column of about 16 feet with an overlying gas column of about 42 feet.

The NPD said nearly 10 feet and 32 feet of the encountered gas column were in “sandstone with moderate to good reservoir properties.”

In the secondary exploration target, the well encountered an oil column measuring about 26 feet, with about 16 feet being sandstone with moderate to good reservoir properties.

Statoil said recoverable reserves at the well have been initially estimated at between 20 and 80 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalents.

The company added that plans for further appraisal of the discovery will be made.

The well was not formation tested, but extensive data acquisition and sampling were carried out, the NPD said.

The well was drilled to a vertical depth of 10,656 feet below the sea surface and was terminated in the Spekk formation in the Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous.

The water depth at the site is 1227 feet.

The well will be permanently plugged and abandoned, the NPD said.

Statoil said the well’s close proximity to the Norne field means that that the company will consider a possible tie-back of the discovery to the FPSO at the Norne.

“Norne is already a much greater success than we expected when the field was discovered. It has been the backbone of our ventures in the north from the very beginning and discoveries such Cape Vulture contribute to Norne’s long life, and to maintaining activities in the Norwegian Sea,” Statoil’s senior vice president for Operations North Siri Kindem said.

Statoil is the operator of license 128 and 128D with a 64 percent share.

Norway’s Petoro holds a 24.5 percent share and Italy’s ENI holds a 11.5 percent share.