Norway Announces Blocks to be Included in the 17th Licensing Round

Included in the 17th licensing round are areas in deep water as well as blocks near the coastline. The Norwegian government will continue the policy of a gradual progression in the exploration activity. In the selection of blocks and the decision of the extent of the 17th round special attention have been given to the need for gradual exploration. The acreage announced in this licensing round comprises of a total of 32 blocks or parts of blocks. In the coming years there will be licensing rounds in the Norwegian Sea every second year.

By giving the companies predictability regarding future access to new areas, the authorities are contributing to securing a sound resource management of the Norwegian Continental Shelf. In this way we can secure employment opportunities. The 17th licensing round is an important instrument in achieving stability and predictability. The Norwegian Government is especially concerned with the interaction between the petroleum activity and other important public interests. The Norwegian Government is preparing for an overall management of the resources that makes it possible to balance the interests relating to the environment, fisheries, aqua culture and the petroleum activity within a framework of sustainable development. Blocks in the so-called Nordland VI area are not included in the announcement of the 17th licensing round. The Norwegian Government is of the opinion that there is a need for more information before expanding the petroleum activity in this sensitive area. The Norwegian Government is therefore, in line with its inaugural address, preparing for an impact assessment of all-year petroleum activity in the areas from Lofoten and northwards. This work is already in progress. The Norwegian Government will await the results from this impact assessment before additional blocks in the area in Nordland VI and northwards will be announced.

The deadline for submission of applications for the 17th licensing round is 18 March 2002. The awards of production licenses in the 17th licensing round are planned to take place in the second quarter of 2002.

The following blocks or parts of blocks are announced in the 17th Licensing Round: