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Nominations sought for 18th round

March 7, 2003, 13:30 CET

Oil companies involved on the Norwegian continental shelf have been invited to nominate blocks for an 18th offshore licensing round, and given until 1 August to respond.

Issued by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy on 6 March, this invitation covers all areas opened for petroleum activities south of the 68th parallel.

That includes both the Norwegian and North Seas, with blocks due to be put on offer there in the second half of the year. Awards have been scheduled before the summer of 2004.

“This process is in line with expectations,” says Tor Fjæran, senior vice president for new areas in the Exploration & Production Norway business area.

He notes that the timing of the awards is governed by the environmental impact assessment currently being carried out for the Norwegian Sea off the Lofoten islands and the Barents Sea.

“We’ve picked up signals that the Nordland VI area of the Norwegian Sea could be included, and consider that to be positive.

“It depends on the government concluding that the findings of the impact assessment make it permissible to open up these waters.

“As in the 17th round, our main expectations lie in opportunities for gas discoveries in deepwater parts of the Norwegian Sea in the 18th round.”

If awards are made in the summer of 2004, drilling can begin in the spring or summer of 2005 at the earliest – depending on the availability of rigs.