Norway Makes Headway in Barents Sea Exploration

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has awarded new production licenses in the 21st licensing round on the Norwegian shelf. 29 companies were offered participation in 24 new production licenses.

Twelve of the licenses are in the Norwegian Sea and twelve in the Barents Sea. Four of these are additional acreage associated with existing production licenses.

Exploration director Sissel Eriksen of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) said this was the most comprehensive announcement ever in the Barents Sea, and that it also includes areas located further north than before.

"In this licensing round, we are moving further north/northwest than in existing production licenses. Therefore, this is an important step on the road towards exploring the Barents Sea," she said.

Eriksen emphasizes that the NPD is satisfied with the round, which was one of the most comprehensive ever. The interest from the companies has been significant, and it is clear that the players still believe in the Norwegian shelf.

The preparations for the round started on November 5, 2009, when the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy invited the oil companies to nominate blocks they believed should be part of the announcement. The round was announced on 23 June last year, with an application deadline of November 3.

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