Happy with North Sea round

September 11, 2000, 09:35 CEST

The 40 full or partial North Sea blocks put on offer by the Norwegian government in a new licensing round are well in line with Statoil's wishes.

Oil companies had nominated 64 full or partial blocks to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy for this North Sea round 2000. Nine of Statoil's 14 nominations are included.

"The acreage we regard as the most important on this occasion in on offer," says Tore Husmo, the group's project manager for this round.

"We believe these areas could conceal substantial assets in the form of both oil and gas resources."

A new feature of this round is that a number of blocks have been included as "seismic areas", which means they will be initially awarded for seismic surveying without drilling obligations.

The companies can then apply for and obtain drilling permission if their surveys yield possible results.

Applications must be submitted to the ministry by 14 December, and Mr Husmo expects a hectic time ahead of the decision-making process with Statoil's partners. This is due to start in early November.

Almost all the applications will be submitted by groups, and Mr Husmo says that Statoil has established cooperation deals with various companies in different areas.

The acreage on offer is spread over the whole Norwegian North Sea sector, from the boundary with the Danish sector in the south to the area off Florø in the North.

See the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy's map of the North Sea round 2000.