Saturday, November 8, 2008

Bids for Oil Exploration off Norway Coastline Soar

The Norwegian government says the number of oil companies bidding for exploration licenses off its coastlines has surged to a record 46 in the country's latest licensing round. That's over double the last bidding round in 2005 when 19 companies participated.

With a number of its North Sea fields aging, Norway is hoping that new offshore oil deposits will be found by directing exploration north of the current fields. New licenses for blocks are being offered in the Barents Sea and Norwegian Sea.

"It is positive that this many companies want to aim towards new opportunities in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea," said Oil Minister Terje Riis-Johansen. "Petroleum activities that are undertaken in accordance with important environmental and fisheries concerns can make a significant impact on employment, industrial development and value creation in the northern areas."

Now that oil production has started to drop in the Scandinavian country, Norway has opened bids up to smaller oil companies to generate more interest. Larger companies have generally started to stay away from the declining area as production has dropped from over 3 million barrels a day in 2000 to 2.2 million barrels a day.

The renewed interest in the area comes from higher crude prices.

Bids on the new blocks will be awarded sometime early or mid-2009.

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