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Evaluating Faroes round

September 7, 1999, 10:00 CEST

Participation in the first offshore licensing round in the Faroes next year is under consideration by Statoil.

The group is awaiting the publication of acreage on offer and the terms being set for the round by the North Atlantic islands.

A White Paper specifying these details is due to be published in late October/early November after several postponements.

The deadline for applications in this first round will probably be set at April 2000, with licences awarded the following August.

Agreement was reached this spring by the UK and Faroese authorities on a boundary line in the disputed "white zone" between the continental shelf areas held by the two countries.

Based on the median-line principle, this boundary largely follows the former fisheries limits between the two.

The petroleum administration in the Faroes then invited companies which had nominated acreage for a first round in 1997 to re-submit their nominations.

"New and promising exploration areas have been opened for both Britain and the islands by their boundary agreement," says John Egil Inderhaug, who is Statoil's exploration manager for the Faroes and west of Shetland.

He believes that the Faroese continental shelf could prove an important new asset for the group.

Statoil's operations in these waters, as well as off Ireland and the UK, are now being directed from its London office.

Preparations to explore off the Faroes began as far back as 1993, when the government-appointed planning commission drew up the regulations required to initiate seismic surveys.

This work paralleled negotiations with the UK over the boundary line, and the Faroese authorities opted to delay the first licensing round until that dispute had been settled.

The petroleum administration in the islands was recently upgraded to a separate ministry with a newly-appointed permanent secretary under petroleum minister Eydun Elttør.