July 10, 2017 / 12:53 PM / 2 years ago

Statoil drills dry wells off Canada's Newfoundland

Norwegian oil company's Statoil logo is seen at their headquarters in Fornebu, Norway, June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

OSLO/CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Norway’s Statoil STL.OL and Canada’s Husky Energy (HSE.TO) have hit dry wells in a prospect in the Atlantic offshore Newfoundland for which they had high hopes, Statoil said on Monday.

The companies have drilled two dry wells in the Flemish Pass geological basin, some 500 km (310 miles) off the east coast of Canada’s Newfoundland and Labrador province.

“These results are disappointing, as we had hoped to add additional optionality to the near-field area at Bay du Nord,” Trond Jacobsen, Statoil’s head of exploration in Canada, said in a statement.

Husky declined to comment beyond saying it will continue to work with Statoil on development options for Bay du Nord.

The dry wells in the Flemish Pass are the latest knock for the Canadian energy industry, which is dominated by the high-cost oil sands in northern Alberta. International energy companies, including Statoil, have sold off around $23 billion in oil sands assets over the last year in favor of cheaper plays with faster returns elsewhere.

Offshore Atlantic Canada production currently makes up about 200,000 barrels of Canada’s 3.85 million barrels per day output.

Statoil struck oil at Bay du Nord in 2013 and the play became one of its key priorities for further exploration. The company hoped it could find enough oil and gas to develop it for production.

Bay du Nord is still estimated to hold some 300 million barrels of recoverable oil and a development of that field remains under evaluation, Statoil said.

Statoil shares closed up 1.1 percent while Husky shares closed nearly flat at C$13.63 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Nia Williams; Editing by James Dalgleish and Leslie Adler

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