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Positive offshore round

September 9, 1999, 10:30 CEST

Acreage put on offer in Norway's 16th offshore licensing round, announced on 8 September, is largely in line with Statoil's wishes.

This comment on the announcement from the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy comes from Marit Berling, project manager for the new round at the group.

Blocks have been offered in mature areas near existing infrastructure and in deepwater parts of the continental shelf which remain less well explored.

"It's likely to be possible to find new resources in this acreage which can be tied back to existing facilities," Ms Berling comments.

"At the same time, we'll be able to test prospects in more geologically uncertain areas."

With 48 full or part blocks available for possible allocation, she believes the ministry can award interesting assignments to several players - including Statoil.

Ms Berling notes that the group has developed substantial regional geological expertise off Norway over a number of years, and has the capacity to take on new tasks.

"Improving the quality of our exploration acreage is an important goal. This would enhance our prospects for making commercial discoveries.

"In the longer term, that could yield new development assignments which would help to safeguard jobs both for us and for the offshore supplies industry."

The deadline for applications is 31 January, with the ministry planning to award licences in March.

A project team in Statoil has started work on evaluating the relevant acreage.

The ministry has posted a press release to the internet, with a map of the acreage on offer.