Statoil is underway with an aggressive exploration program that will stretch out over the next two years or so across the US Gulf of Mexico, Canada and Alaska. Having spent the last couple of years building up a strong prospect portfolio, the company already has a couple of sizeable discoveries in the early stages of development with plenty of other prospects to be tested both this year and next.

The company achieved early success last year when it discovered its Logan field last year in Walker Ridge Block 969. According to Hart’s Deepwater International newsletter, Statoil is now carrying out early pre-development work on the ultra-deepwater find with the aim of making it a new hub development.

The operator is planning to drill an appraisal well on Logan early in 2013, with the company’s development group underway with a fast-track pre-development project. Statoil is using targeted technology for the Wilcox and Paleogene formations being developed in its research centre under the code name ‘Crack the Paleogene’.

Statoil wants to directly apply the research work over the next couple of years on Logan, which lies in 2,653 m (8,704 ft) of water.

Logan looks increasingly set to act as a hub facility for several satellite prospects in the surrounding area, including one where a wildcat well is already underway on the nearby Bioko Paleogene prospect in a water depth of 1,937 m (6,355 ft) in Keathley Canyon Block 698 using Transocean’s Discoverer Americas drillship, according to Deepwater International .

The company is also drilling another well on its Kilchurn Miocene prospect using the semisubmersible rig Maersk Developer in Green Canyon Block 404. It also has other exploration wells lined up for next year on prospects including Sake and Coral.

Logan was Statoil’s first operated discovery in the US Gulf, and the operator is expected to reveal more details on the size of the reserves before the end of this month.

The discovery well discovered “superior oil quality and a very very good reservoir in our pay zone that are in fact some of the best, if not the best that have been seen in the Gulf of Mexico in the Paleogene to date,” according to a recent briefing by Erik Finnstrom , Senior Vice President, Exploration North America for Statoil.

That has given the operator the confidence to plan to drill a downdip appraisal well. Statoil is already involved in the