Nominations invited for 19th round
An invitation to nominate blocks for Norway’s 19th offshore licensing round was issued to the oil companies by petroleum and energy minister Thorhild Widvey on 14 October.
The companies have been given until 23 February next year to propose acreage which they want to see included in this round.
Intended to form part of the ministry’s decision-making base, such nominations are confined to areas of the Norwegian and Barents Seas already opened for exploration.
Plans call for blocks to be put on offer next summer, and the government aims to award new licences in the first quarter of 2006.
“I find it gratifying that preparations for the 19th round are already starting,” says Tim Dodson, exploration manager for Exploration & Production Norway.
“That’s in line with our wishes. It’s important to ensure that the oil industry constantly has access to sufficient Norwegian acreage for maintaining an adequate level of exploration.
“A long time has passed since new licences were awarded in the Barents Sea. Offering and awarding additional blocks in these waters is important to our increased commitment in the far north.”
Predefined areas close to existing infrastructure will not be included in the 19th round.
Nor can nominations be submitted for areas defined by the Norwegian authorities as particularly valuable in environmental terms.
These embrace the Nordland VI sector of the Norwegian Sea and parts of the continental shelf close to the coasts of the northernmost counties of Troms and Finnmark.