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Seeking new licences

March 18, 2002, 12:15 CET

A joint application for new awards in Norway’s 17th offshore licensing round has been submitted by Statoil, Enterprise Oil and Shell by the deadline today, 18 March.

“We’ve put in a solid bid from a strong group, and are very confident that we’ll be successful,” says Kent Høgseth, Statoil’s 17th-round project manager.

Thirty-two blocks in the Norwegian Sea have been put on offer, covering both deepwater areas and acreage nearer to land around Statoil’s Norne field.

Statoil has only applied for deepwater blocks on this occasion. Plans call for awards to be made in the summer.

According to Mr Høgseth, Statoil, Shell and Enterprise opted to apply jointly because they complement each other in terms of technology and expertise.

The three companies concluded a “deepwater alliance” in 2001 covering long-term collaboration in this part of the Norwegian continental shelf.

Shell is the leading deepwater specialist, operating 40 per cent of the world’s oil and gas production from waters more than 500 metres deep.

Statoil ranks among the world leaders for floating production under tough weather conditions.

And Enterprise is an innovatory and creative company which has been successful in exploration on the NCS.

The deepwater alliance has proposed Statoil as operator in its application. In the event of production, the group would also assess possible area synergies and has accordingly proposed Shell as operator for that phase.

This is the first time that the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has allowed groups of companies to submit joint applications for Norwegian Sea blocks.

The authorities initially permitted such collaboration off Norway in connection with the Barents Sea exploration round in 1997.

For further information, see The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy's press release.