Ministry of Petroleum and Energy Unveils 21st Licensing Round

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy hereby announced the 21st Licensing Round, which comprises 94 blocks or parts of blocks in the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea. This will provide a basis for awards during spring of 2011. The 21st Licensing Round will contribute to sustain exploration activities in frontier parts of the Norwegian continental shelf, and provide basis for new petroleum activities and value creation.

"I will continue a predictable licensing policy which is important to sustain the level of activity on the Norwegian continental shelf. The petroleum industry has created enormous wealth for the Norwegian society. I feel confident that the 21st Licensing round will contribute to prolonging this value creation," said the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Mr. Terje Riis-Johansen.

In the 21st Licensing round large acreages have been made available for the industry. 51 blocks are included in the Barents Sea and 43 blocks in the Norwegian Sea. The Government is in a process of establishing new shipping lanes. The overall evaluation concluded that no new blocks are announced in the North Sea this licensing round, and 43 of 47 blocks in the Norwegian Sea which were subject of a public hearing are announced.

"The 21st Licensing round will be concluded in light of what we are now experiencing in the Gulf of Mexico. Before awarding licenses in the 21st licensing round, I will ensure I have deeper knowledge about the accident," said the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Mr. Terje Riis-Johansen.

The majority of available blocks in the 21st licensing round are located in the Barents Sea. The Barents Sea is the least explored petroleum province on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The 21st licensing round opens up for further exploration of this petroleum province.

"It is essential that the petroleum activity creates economic activity on land, both in order to create legitimacy in areas with petroleum activity, and especially to enhance growth and jobs in the whole of Norway. I hope this announcement will contribute to more economic activity and jobs in Norhern Norway," said the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Mr. Terje Riis-Johansen.

The deadline for submission of applications is 12 00 a.m. on 3 November 2010. Awards of new production licenses is planned to take place during spring 2011.