Norsk Hydro Assumes Operatorship of Block 146-1 in Libya

Hydro formally assumed the operatorship of block 146-1 in Libya's Murzuq basin on Thursday. Hydro won the license on October 2 after competitive bidding.

The exploration license is situated southeast of Hydro's prolific exploration and production portfolio in the Murzuq basin. The new license will enable Hydro to build on extensive experience gained over the last 10 years in the basin. The minimum work commitment for the 2,492 square kilometer license is shooting 750 kilometers of 2-D seismic and drilling two wells.

The bid round on October 2 attracted 48 international oil companies submitting a total of 99 bids for 26 blocks on offer. Area 146-1 attracted eight bids and was the most contested block in the Murzuq basin.

Hydro - through the former Norwegian company Saga Petroleum, merged with Hydro in 1999 - has been active in Libya since the early 1990s and currently produces oil from three fields and has substantial exploration activities in partnership with Repsol, Total and OMV. Two new fields will start production in 2006.

The name of the new operating company is Hydro Libya Murzuq AS. This is the first "Hydro" registered company in Libya. Existing licenses will continue to be registered under the name of Saga Petroleum Mabruk AS.

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