New North Sea licences

May 11, 1999, 11:15 CEST

Interests in four new licences - including two operatorships - have been awarded to Statoil in Norway's latest offshore licensing round.

"We're very satisfied with this result, particularly because we got the blocks we'd put at the top of our wish list," says Tor Fjæran, vice president for exploration and area development in Exploration & Production Norway.

One operatorship secured by Statoil in this "North Sea" round covers blocks 25/3 and 25/6 east of Frigg and south of Oseberg. The other embraces additional acreage to the Gullfaks field in blocks 30/1 and 34/10.

An applicant group formed in partnership with Mobil and Saga Petroleum to bid for blocks 25/3 and 25/6 has been awarded this acreage jointly. Statoil has a 30 per cent interest in the licence

"We believe the prospects are good for making major oil discoveries here," says Mr Fjæran. He adds that Statoil has surveyed the area well, and aims to start exploration drilling fairly soon.

Statoil has a 12 per cent interest in the other licence where it holds the operatorship. In addition come 20 per cent of blocks 35/8 and 35/11 and 12.6 per cent in additional acreage to the Brage field in block 31/4. Norsk Hydro operates these licences.

Awards in the North Sea 99 round embrace 14 licences covering 19 full or part blocks. The government originally put 33 combinations of full or part blocks on offer, and received applications for 20 of these from 18 oil companies.