Calgary-based Husky Energy Inc. and its Norwegian partner Statoil ASA say they have made a major oil discovery in the Flemish Pass Basin, offshore Newfoundland and Labrador.
The find of light oil last month at the Bay du Nord prospect contains an estimated 400 million barrels, Husky said in a news release Thursday.
In a separate statement, Statoil said the exploration well has found between 300 and 600 million barrels of recoverable oil.
“This is among the 12 biggest discoveries over the last three years” anywhere in the world, Statoil Canada Exploration vice-president Geir Richardsen said in an interview.
“It’s the biggest discovery ever done outside of Norway for us as an operator and that is a significant step,” he said.
There are still other parts of the structure to be explored, which could yield even higher volumes, said Mr. Richardsen.
“Just a few wells have been drilled and it’s a huge area,” he said.
“We don’t know what the rest contains.”
Husky, controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, holds a 35 per cent working interest in three discoveries in the area, including Bay du Nord, at depths of about 1,100 metres of water.
Bay du Nord is located about 500 kilometres northeast of St. John’s.
The other two discoveries are the light oil find in June at Harpoon, located about 10 kilometres from Bay du Nord, and the discovery of slightly heavier oil at Mizzen in 2009.
The Harpoon discovery is still being assessed and the potential volume has not been confirmed.
Mizzen is estimated by Husky to hold 130 million barrels.
“Together, these discoveries confirm significant opportunity in the Flemish Pass Basin and could be developed in tandem. Husky and Statoil will continue to evaluate the potential for commercial development of the discovered resources. The companies will conduct further drilling in the area to evaluate other opportunities,” Husky said in its news release.
“The Flemish Pass has the potential to become a core producing area for Statoil post-2020,” Statoil exploration chief Tim Dodson said in a statement.
“With only a few wells drilled in a large licenced area, totalling about 8,500 square kilometres, more work is required,” he said.
“This will involve new seismic as well as additional exploration and appraisal drilling to confirm these estimates before the partnership can decide on an optimal development solution in this frontier basin.”
Husky is Canada’s third largest integrated oil and gas company. It has 15 exploration licences and 23 significant discovery areas in offshore Newfoundland and Labrador.
Editor's Note: An earlier online version of this article had a typo in Mr. Li's name. This has been corrected.