Norway's Statoil comes up dry at its northernmost Arctic wells

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Norway's Statoil ASA says it found no commercial quantities of oil and gas at the northernmost wells it has ever drilled in the Arctic.

The government-controlled company drilled three exploration wells this summer in the Hoop area of the Barents Sea.

Two of them were the northernmost wells ever drilled on the Norwegian continental shelf, more than 300 kilometers (185 miles) north of the mainland.

Statoil said Thursday this year's exploration campaign ended without any commercial discoveries. It didn't say whether drilling would resume next year, only that "exploring for hydrocarbons in the Barents Sea takes time and stamina."

Statoil is pushing into Arctic waters amid declining offshore production in the North Sea, prompting protests from environmentalists who fear an oil spill in the area could have disastrous consequences.