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Management plan: "Had hoped for more"

March 31, 2006, 15:00 CEST

Statoil had hoped for a more aggressive approach in the Norwegian government’s proposed management plan for the far north, and believed that this would be forthcoming. We had hoped to come further with specific impact assessments now, says Terje Overvik, executive vice president of Statoil's Exploration & Production Norway business area.

The White Paper on comprehensive management of the Barents Sea and the waters off Lofoten was presented by the government today, 31 March. It is positive that the plan opens for a further development of the areas around the Snøhvit and Goliat fields, as well as continuity in exploration activities in the Barents Sea.

However, no petroleum activity will be permitted in the Nordland VI, Nordland VII or Troms II areas while this government is in office.

“Statoil has had a leading role in exploring the Barents Sea, and we are confident that these waters offer exciting opportunities for new oil and gas finds," says Mr Overvik. "We are satisfied that we can continue the activity which has created positive spin-offs and optimism in Finnmark county.”

“We believe that it is possible to ensure that the environment and fishing industry are safeguarded, while at the same time opening for a gradual development also in the promising coastal areas off Nordland and Troms counties.

"We have pointed out the industrial opportunities in these areas, but of course we heed the government’s decision."

He is pleased that the management plan does not imply permanent closure of waters off Nordland and Troms, but had hoped that a comprehensive impact assessment could have started now.

However, he notes with interest that seismic surveys organised by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate will be permitted, and that monitoring of seabirds and mapping seabed conditions will be conducted to strengthen basic knowledge of the waters off Nordland.

“This is important if we are to improve our knowledge of the oil and gas potential in the area,” stresses Mr Overvik. “We also believe that further development of technology in development and emergency response solutions must continue, with a view to a possible opening at a later stage.”