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Submitting application for extensive mature field exploration acreage

September 30, 2005, 16:40 CEST

Hydro submitted an application on Friday for major exploration licences close to the existing infrastructure on the Norwegian continental shelf. The application is the most comprehesive one the company has submitted since the introduction of the licences in predetermined areas scheme.

"Most of the acreage we are applying for is located in mature areas of the North Sea. It's largely a question of additonal acreage close to already proven fields, and areas adjacent to the prospects we are currently considering," says Lars Christian Alsvik, senior vice president of the Development Norway sector.

The deadline for applications in the annual mature field licensing round expired on Friday. A total of 192 blocks are on offer from the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.

Hydro's application shows that there still exist opportunities even in such a mature area as the North Sea.

Alsvik is pleased that specialists in the units Exploration Norway and Global Exploration have put forward more new ideas for prospects Hydro has not previously considered.

"If we make a discovery, these prospects are extensive enough to provide the basis for independent developments. The current high oil prices mean that we can see opportunities in other locations than those where we have traditionally conducted exploration. We are also contemplating prospects that were not considered profitable at lower prices," says Alsvik.

Of the nine exploration wells drilled by Hydro during the past year, six have resulted in oil or gas discoveries.

"This is naturally a trend we wish to continue. We have therefore gone to great lengths to document our application," adds Alsvik.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy is planning to award the exploration licences in December.