Tord Lien

Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) has awarded ten new production licences for exploration in the Barents Sea on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, comprising 40 blocks in the 23rd licensing round.

Prior to issuing the offers, authorities evaluated applications that were submitted by 26 oil and gas companies.

The licensing round was first announced in January last year.

Norwegian oil and energy minister Tord Lien said in a statement: "For the first time in 20 years, we offer new acreage for exploration.

"This will contribute to employment, growth and value creation in Norway. Northern Norway is now in the forefront of further developing the Norwegian petroleum industry."

The authority has awarded three production licences in the new area in the south-eastern Barents Sea.

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"For the first time in 20 years, we offer new acreage for exploration."

In addition to these licences, Sissel Eriksen announced the new blocks that have been awarded in the area surrounding Alta and Wisting discoveries.

Companies that have won the licences are Capricorn Norge, Centrica Resources, Chevron Norge, ConocoPhillips Skandinavia, DEA Norge, Det norske oljeselskap, Idemitsu Petroleum Norge, Lukoil Overseas North Shelf, Lundin Norway, OMV, PGNiG Upstream International, Statoil Petroleum and Tullow Oil.

Statoil development and production Norway executive vice-president Arne Sigve Nylund said: "The Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) is the core of Statoil’s business, and we are very pleased with the award in the 23rd licensing round, which will strengthen our exploration portfolio.

"Gradually opening up new areas is crucial for us to maintain profitable and high-level production up to and beyond 2030."

On 28 August 2013, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy started preparations for the 23rd licensing round and invited the companies to nominate blocks in the announcement.

Image: The announcenment by Tord Lien in Hammerfest. Photo: courtesy of