STAVANGER, Norway (Reuters) - Aker BP plans to drill up to 15 exploration wells next year, including in the Arctic Barents Sea, Aker BP Chief Executive Karl Johnny Hersvik said on Monday.
"Our plan is to drill somewhere in the range of 12-15 wells and I'm assuming we will have the same level going forward," he told Reuters on the sidelines of an energy conference.
Aker BP also plans to drill at least one well and possibly more near the Arctic Wisting discovery, as a result of the company's acquisition of the oil business of Sweden's Lundin Energy.
Hersvik had previously said that Aker BP was no longer planning to drill in the Barents Sea due to poor exploration results previously, but now he said the company was reassessing its position given insights from Lundin.
Overall, he expected oil firms to drill about 50 exploration wells on the Norwegian continental shelf next year and expects overall exploration off Norway steady in the next two years versus 2022.
Hersvik also said the ongoing energy crisis in Europe due to the reduction of Russian gas supplies amid Moscow's invasion of Ukraine would be going to accelerate the energy transition, but that
Still, he added that Russian gas exports to Europe could resume if relations were normalised between Moscow and the West.
"The Russian gas will come back if the relationship is normalised," he said.
(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Marek Strzelecki and Gwladys Fouche)