Statoil ASA (STL) entered a partnership with Cirque Resources to search for shale oil and gas in the Heath area of the state of Montana in the U.S.
Norway’s largest oil and gas producer bought stakes of as much as 50 percent in “several blocks,” spokesman Baard Glad Pedersen said by phone from Oslo today. Cirque, a closely held U.S. company, will be operator at all of the prospects, he said.
“These are small investments, at a very early stage,” Pedersen said. “We’re looking for new opportunities within shale oil and gas.”
Statoil is expanding abroad and into so-called unconventional resources in North America to boost reserves of oil and gas amid dwindling output from aging fields off the coast of Norway. The company last year spent $4.4 billion buying Brigham Exploration Co. to gain access to the Bakken and Three Forks areas.
Cirque has drilled four wells at Heath and recently notified authorities of a commercial find with an initial test production rate of more than 270 barrels a day, Upstream, an Oslo-based weekly newspaper, reported today.
Statoil plans to increase production to 2.5 million barrels of oil a day by 2020 from more than 2 million now.
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