NPD Hopes to Spur Exploration on Norwegian Shelf

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) said that rules relating to area fees will change next year. The purpose is to ensure activity in production licenses on the Norwegian continental shelf which today lie "fallow."

The changes in the petroleum regulations relating to area fees will take effect on 1 January 2007. The purpose of these amendments is to encourage the licensees to initiate activity in licenses that today are on hold, or to relinquish them to the state in order to give other licensees a chance.

The area fee will serve as an instrument to ensure that allocated areas are explored in an efficient manner, enabling production to start as quickly as possible. This, in turn, will contribute toward extending the lifetime of existing fields. According to the new provisions, the main rule is that no area fee will be paid for areas with ongoing exploration and production, while areas without activity will pay a higher fee than today.

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