Norway Licensing Round Sees Greatest Interest in Barents Sea

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The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate says it has received applications from a total of 36 companies in the country's 22nd licensing round, with the greatest interest being shown in the Barents Sea.

The NPD announced late on Wednesday that by the time the application deadline for the 22nd licensing round expired on Tuesday it had received applications from 36 companies for 86 blocks and parts of blocks, of which 14 were in the Norwegian Sea and 72 in the Barents Sea.

"It is no great surprise that several companies [have applied] for production licences in the Barents Sea," NPD Exploration Director Sissel Eriksen commented in a statement from the organization.

"After Statoil found oil and gas on 'Skrugard' (7220/8-1) last year, the interest in exploring the Barents Sea has risen sharply. The confidence in new opportunities and discovery expectations has increased. Several exploration wells are already planned in the Barents Sea. This round will help maintain the level of activity in the southern part of the Barents Sea, as well as clarify the resource potential."

Majors who applied for production licenses include: BP, Centrica, ConocoPhillips, ENI, OMV, Repsol, Statoil and Total.

In October, Eni Norge and its partner Lundin (which has also applied for license blocks in the latest round) made a gas condensate discovery of up to 41 million barrels of oil equivalent at the Salina prospect in the Barents Sea.



A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at

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