Optimism before 17th round

August 29, 2001, 15:15 CEST

A deadline of 28 September has been set for Statoil and other oil companies to propose acreage for inclusion in the 17th offshore licensing round.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) made an announcement today, 29 August, inviting the companies to nominate blocks in the Norwegian Sea.

Plans call for blocks to be announced in the fourth quarter of this year and for production licences to be awarded in the second quarter of 2002, according to the MPE.

"We are optimistic that there are sizeable gas reserves, particularly in the deep-water areas," says Kent Høgseth, Statoil's project manager for the 17th round.

Statoil has cooperation agreements with Shell, Enterprise Oil and a number of other companies which operate in the Norwegian Sea.

If Statoil is awarded licences in the spring, seismic data collection can start next summer. Drilling in new acreage could then commence towards the end of 2002 at the earliest.

According to Mr Høgseth, the 17th licensing round is important for the group.

"Statoil is dependent on replacing production in the long term," he says. "It is therefore extremely important that we are awarded new quality acreage where big finds are possible."