Norway today has gone ahead with its offshore oil and gas exploration licensing rounds. According to the oil ministry this focuses on its increasingly vital Arctic region and sharply cutting offerings in the North and Norwegian Seas.
Norway said Arctic region blocks dominated its licensing for both mature and frontier areas while the number of North Sea areas would be sharply reduced.
"The proposal I am submitting for consultation is based on the companies' nominations and indicate very clearly that the petroleum industry is moving north," Oil Minister Ola Borten Moe said in a statement.
Frontier area licensing rounds are set to include 86 blocks, 72 of these are in the Arctic Barents Sea and 14 are in the Norwegian Sea.
Separate licensing rounds for mature areas will include 48 blocks or partial blocks. 33 of these blocks are located in the Barents Sea, 12 in the Norwegian Sea and two in the North Sea.
Most blocks are near current operations. This allows the energy firms to tie in new discoveries into existing infrastructure, the ministry said.
"Discoveries can be tied into existing infrastructure and there may also be a potential for independent developments," Borten Moe said.
"The result is extended lifetimes for existing infrastructure and production from new discoveries, in other words a win-win situation," Borten Moe added.
The Skrugard and Havis oilfields were last years large Arctic discoveries and are estimated to hold 400 million to 600 million barrels of oil equivalent.
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