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North Sea blocks nominated

September 11, 1998, 01:00 CEST

Twenty-three companies, including Statoil, have nominated blocks for possible allocation off Norway in the first quarter of 1999.

These North Sea nominations meet criteria set by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, reports Tor Fjæran, senior vice president for Statoil's Exploration & Development Norway business area.

The ministry requires that this acreage should be close to infrastructure with existing or imminent spare capacity. Individual and group nominations cover some 58 full or part blocks.

This is the first time groups of companies are being allowed to nominate and apply for offshore blocks in the Norwegian North Sea, and Statoil is working to establish such partnerships.

"These will be established primarily to evaluate those areas where it would be feasible to submit a joint application," reports Mr Fjæran.

Because the groups being established are in competition with each other, he is not prepared to be specific about the acreage being nominated.

The group application model has been utilised on the UK continental shelf and was also applied by the Norwegian authorities for the Barents Sea project in 1996-97.

Other nominating companies are Agip, Amerada Hess, Amoco, BP, Conoco, Deminex, Dansk Olie og Naturgas, Elf, Enterprise, Esso, Norsk Hydro, Marathon, Mobil, Neste, Saga Petroleum, Pelican, Petro-Canada, PGS Exploration, Phillips Petroleum, Svenska Petroleum and Total.

The ministry is now starting the job of selecting acreage for allocation. Consideration being taking into account include environmental aspects and fishing interests.

Blocks are expected to go on offer towards the end of this year, giving the companies 90 days to submit applications for this licenseing round.