• Friday, February 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

47 oil firms set for licensing round

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Norway received applications from 47 energy firms, including most majors operating in the country, for oil and gas licences in mature areas, offering a boost for the sector which struggled with poor exploration results this year.

Norway each year hands out licences in areas already opened for exploration, hoping to attract energy firms back to blocks passed over in previous rounds or already abandoned.

The licensing rounds have attracted a plethora of smaller explorers and also yielded major finds, including parts of Norwegian company Statoil’s Johan Sverdrup field, which holds up to 2.9 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Energy firms are returning to areas they once passed over as seismic technology improves, or the size of finds in other areas decreases. Norway also offers a 78 percent rebate on exploration costs, make it relatively cheap to drill, attracting smaller explorers.

Applicants in the 2014 round include Statoil, Shell, Centrica, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, E.ON and GDF. Awards are expected in January 2015.

New licences in frontier areas will not be awarded until 2016 as the government needs more time to prepare to give out blocks in an Arctic zone bordering Russia.