Tim Dodson, senior vice president for NCS exploration, takes a positive view of the 2005 TFO because it embraces a substantially larger number of blocks than last year's round.
That makes it possible to apply for acreage which could provide valuable supplementary resources close to existing infrastructure.
It also opens opportunities for making discoveries large enough to form the basis for stand-alone developments.
"Substantial resources remain to be found on the NCS," says Mr. Dodson. "Exploration results in mature areas have been encouraging this year.
"We've stepped up exploration during 2005, but need a constant refill of new prospects to maintain a high level of activity over a number of years."
Statoil still has great faith in the NCS, Mr. Dodson notes. Awards under the TFO scheme make an important contribution to meeting its targets.
"We have opportunities this year to secure quality acreage over the whole NCS both through the TFO and the 19th licensing round, which has an application deadline of 15 November," he says.
"Long-term rig charters mean we're well positioned for new exploration. We aim to exploit all our knowledge, expertise and experience to win the competition over the best acreage."
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