CNOPB Announces 2003 Licensing Round

The Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board or CNOPB has announced details of the 2003 Call for Bids in the Newfoundland Offshore area. The Call will comprise fourteen parcels, two located in the Northeast Newfoundland Shelf (Parcels 1 and 2), ten in the Orphan Basin (Parcels 3 to 12) and two in the Flemish Pass Area (Parcels 13 and 14). These parcels comprise a total of 3,167,445 hectares.

TGS-NOPEC offers more than 4,500 kms of newly acquired multi-client 2D data in and around the 2003 Newfoundland parcels. This data was acquired in 2002 and is immediately available to evaluate the hydrocarbon potential of these offshore Newfoundland areas.

The Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board will conduct a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of the area containing the fourteen parcels offered in the Call. The Board's advisory agencies in government, fisheries interests, and public stakeholders will be consulted during this process. A draft of the SEA report will be published on the Board's website early in the fall for public comment. The Board will consider any recommendations made in the SEA report and where necessary may amend the Call to ensure concerns are addressed.

Interested parties will have until 4:00 p.m. on December 17, 2003 to submit sealed bids. The sole criterion for selecting winning bids will be the total amount of money the bidder commits to spend on exploration of the respective parcel during the first 5 years (Period I). The minimum bid for all parcels is 1 million dollars. Subject to Ministerial approval, successful bidders will be issued an exploration license for a term of 9 years, and during Period I, a well must be spudded to validate the license for the full 9-year term. Period I may be extended to six years by posting an additional deposit of one million dollars as security for drilling a well.