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File photo of a Statoil platform.

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Statoil is evaluating a new discovery of high-quality oil off the coast of Newfoundland, about 500 kilometres northeast of St. John's, Nfld., the Norwegian oil giant announced Wednesday.

A Statoil spokesman says the latest oil discovery is very encouraging and contributes to its understanding of the area within the Flemish Pass Basin, where the company and its partner Husky Energy have been exploring.

"We anticipate there will be further appraisal drilling to mature this discovery in the future," said Erik Finnstrom, Statoil's senior vice-president for North America.

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"We will continue to build this area as a core exploration region for Statoil."

The Harpoon discovery, which is under about 1,100 metres of water, is about 10 km from the Mizzen discovery, which is estimated to hold between 100 million and 200 million barrels of oil.

Statoil has a 65-per-cent interest in the Harpoon discovery and the remaining 35 per cent is owned by Husky.

Statoil has a three-well offshore exploration program planned for this year off Newfoundland's coast.

The company is currently drilling the Federation prospect in the Jeanne d'Arc Basin. It will later return to the Flemish Pass Basin to drill the Bay du Nord prospect, which is southwest of the Harpoon and Mizzen discoveries.

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