Thirty-three oil companies submitted bids for exploration blocks offshore Norway in a so-called predefined areas (APA) licensing round, the Ministry of Oil and Energy has announced. This year’s round comprised 48 blocks in the Arctic Barents Sea, 37 blocks in the Norwegian Sea and five in the North Sea. Bidders included Shell, ConocoPhillips, Total, Equinor, Aker BP, Lundin Petroleum, DNO and Eni’s Vaar Energi. A number of private-equity-backed firms bid, such as Crysoar and Neptune Energy. So did Russia’s Lukoil and RN Nordic. “This shows that there is high interest from the companies,” Oil Minister Kjell-Boerge Freiberg said. “Identifying more resources through exploration is vital for Norwegian employment, future value creation and our welfare state,” he added. After processing the applications, the ministry aims to award licenses in early 2020. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate estimates that two-thirds of Norway’s undiscovered oil and gas resources are in the Barents Sea, but exploration results have been disappointing in the last few years.
- Reuters -