February 7, 2017 / 12:02 PM / a year ago

Statoil's offshore U.S. exploration spending to be more cautious

LONDON, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Norway’s Statoil will become more cautious in its exploration spending offshore the United States, but does not plan to leave the region, the company’s exploration chief told Reuters on Tuesday.

As a junior partner, Statoil has been part of several discoveries in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, but despite spending billions of dollars it has failed to strike oil in drilling campaigns it has operated.

“We don’t have any plans to divest ... But on the exploration side we have to make a call on whether we are to continue, and I assume that we will,” Tim Dodson told Reuters on the sidelines of an investor conference in London.

Dodson said a final decision on the company’s U.S. Gulf of Mexico plans will come within a few weeks.

The company plans to drill five to seven wells in the Barents Sea in 2017 and will continue its campaign in 2018.

“We don’t have any fixed plans yet, but we have candidates. Independently of the drilling results this year, we will probably have to drill three wells in the Barents Sea next year,” Dodson said. (Writing by Terje Solsvik in Oslo, editing by Gwladys Fouche)

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