Seeking Faroes acreage

February 18, 2000, 14:30 CET

An application is being drawn up by Statoil for the first offshore licensing round in the Faroe Islands, which was announced on 18 February.

After several delays, Faroese petroleum minister Eydun Elttør has given foreign oil companies until 17 May to apply for licences off the North Atlantic islands. Plans call for acreage to be awarded in September.

"The aim of the round is to ensure that the Faroese continental shelf is thoroughly explored," the Ministry of Petroleum says in a press release.

"Our hope is that hydrocarbon reserves will be found in commercial quantities."

These waters could become an important exploration area for Statoil, says John Egil Inderhaug, who heads the group's exploration activities west of Shetland and off the Faroes.

Preparations to explore around the islands began as early as 1993, when a government-appointed planning commission produced the necessary regulations for starting seismic surveys.

At the same time, negotiations were pursued with the UK on the boundary between their respective economic zones at sea. The Faroese authorities resolved to wait with a licensing round until this dispute had been settled.

More information on the licence round can be obtained from the Faroese Ministry of Petroleum.