Norway's Statoil received a huge boost in reserves when the company announced on Tuesday that two previous North Sea oil discoveries are connected and together may represent the biggest find in the Norwegian continental shelf in 30 years.
Statoil said in a statement the Aldous and Avaldsnes oil discoveries together contain between 500 million and 1.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent — significantly more crude than previously thought.
Statoil owns a 40 per cent stake in both discoveries.
Tim Dodson, the company's vice-president for exploration, called the combined discovery "giant".
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"Norway has not seen a similar oil discovery since the mid-80s," he said.
Dodson stressed that the discoveries show that the Norwegian continental shelf remains an attractive source for crude.
Trond Frode Omdal, an oil analyst at Oslo-based Arctic Securities, agreed, saying the size of the discovery was surprising.
"I think the companies had almost given up making such a huge discovery in the North Sea," he said, adding that the gross value of the Aldous and Avaldsnes oil discoveries could be as much as $40 billion (Dh146.8 billion).
Omdal said Norway's proven oil reserves amount to 6.7 billion barrels, according to the BP Statistical Review, so a discovery containing 1 billion barrels is significant.
He said that last year, Norway produced 2.1 million barrels per day and that Statoil's new fields might produce as much as 300,000 barrels per day.
Statoil's stock was up less than 1 per cent to 123.5 crowns (Dh82.94) on the Oslo Stock Exchange.