Tougher competition for 17th round

December 13, 2001, 18:00 CET

Blocks on offer in Norway’s 17th offshore licensing round were presented by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy today, 13 December.

In its announcement, the government emphasised a step-by-step exploration of the Norwegian Sea and the importance of balancing environmental, fishing, aquaculture and petroleum interests.

Applications are invited for 32 blocks in the Norwegian Sea, covering both deepwater areas and acreage around Statoil’s Norne field closer to land.

“We had expected a more extensive round,” says Kent Høgseth, Statoil’s 17th-round project manager. “A number of the attractive gas blocks in deep water have been left out.

“There will be very tough competition over the best acreage. We and our partners will fight hard to win, and believe we can emerge well from this process.”

Statoil has concluded a long-term regional collaboration with Shell and Enterprise Oil.

Together, these partners possess substantial expertise in exploration, developing deepwater fields and the use of subsea installations.

They also have experience from large and complex field developments which also embrace pipeline and other transport solutions.

Their understanding of the gas market is considerable, and they have displayed an ability and willingness to pursue gas-based industrial development.

The three partners will be collaborating over relevant deepwater blocks in the 17th round.

Statoil has recommended that the government should not put the Nordland VI fishing grounds off Lofoten in northern Norway on offer until the terms for petroleum operations are clarified. This area has been excluded from the 17th round.

“We believe a good dialogue is important,” says Mr Høgseth. “Our aim is to make a positive contribution to the work of clarifying the framework for future activity in northern waters.

“That goal will be pursued in collaboration with central and local government, the fishing and aquaculture industries, and environmental interests.”

The deadline for applications in the 17th round is 18 March 2002, with new licences set to be awarded before the summer.

See the press release from the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.