Preparing for 16th round

March 19, 1999, 14:15 CET

A deadline of 15 June has been set for Statoil and other companies to nominate acreage for possible inclusion in Norway's 16th offshore licensing round.

The timetable for this round, which covers the Norwegian Sea, was announced by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy on 18 March.

Setting a deadline for nominations in June makes it possible to award licences in the first half of next year. The government has set no restrictions on which areas companies can propose.

"We're very satisfied that the ministry is planning an extensive 16th round, which takes the whole Norwegian Sea as its starting point," says Tor Fjæran, senior vice president for Exploration & Development Norway.

He believes this scope could help oil companies to improve the quality of their exploration portfolios and give them long-term assignments. That is important because prospects for making discoveries in existing licences are limited.

Assuming the timetable is observed, Statoil could start drilling on new acreage in late 2000 at the earliest.