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Norway awards 10 oil licences in Arctic Sea

Staff writer ▼ | May 19, 2016
Norway has awarded 10 new offshore oil exploration licences in the Arctic and the border zone with Russia, the first time the country has offer new acreage in twenty years.
Norway Arctic oil
North Sea   Within a sound health, safety and environment framework
The Norwegian oil ministry doled out 10 licences that consisted of 40 blocks, with 13 companies offered participating interests and five companies offered operatorships.

Among the companies winning licenses were British companies Centrica, which will also be an operator, and Tullow Oil, which will not.

Local company Statoil and Sweden's Lundin, will operate four and three of the licences respectively, while the US giant Chevron, and Russia's Lukoil were among those awarded licences but not operating rights.

"Today, we are opening a new chapter in the history of the Norwegian Petroleum industry," said oil minister Tord Lien. "For the first time in twenty years, we offer new acreage for exploration."

The Barents Sea has been opened to oil exploration since 1979, with the first exploration well spudded in the Norwegian Barents Sea in 1980 and the first discovery in the following year.

Lien added: "The Barents Sea offers great new opportunities. The industry's interest in new acreage shows that the Norwegian continental shelf remains attractive. The potential is huge."

Environmental campaigners noted that having on Friday signed an Arctic protection agreement with the U.S., Canada, Russia and other Arctic states, the Norwegian government seemed to be making a massive turnaround less than a week later.

Lien stressed that oil and gas activities in Norway "will only take place within a sound health, safety and environment framework".