Norway Distributes 75 New Fossil Production Licences
Just days after its landmark decision to ban oil drilling in the ecologically sensitive Arctic waters off Lofoten, Vesterålen, and Senja for at least four years, Norway announced a record 75 new fossil production licences for companies operating on the country’s continental shelf.
“Never before have this many production licences been awarded” in a single round of bidding, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate stated on its website, “and never before have this many applications been submitted.”
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The 75 production licences include 45 in the North Sea, 22 in the Norwegian Sea, and eight in the Barents Sea, Rigzone reports. Statoil received 31 of the licences, while 23 went to Aker BP and 14 to Lundin Norway AS.
Petroleum and Energy Minister Terje Søviknes described the availability of new exploration acreage as a “central pillar” of the government’s fossil strategy. “Our licencing policy enables the oil companies in making the discoveries we need to create future activity and employment opportunities, achieve effective resource management, high value creation, and the financing of the welfare state,” he said.
“It is positive that the companies are showing so much interest in exploring in the mature areas on the Norwegian shelf, where it is still possible to exploit existing infrastructure,” added NPD Assistant Director Wenche Tjelta Johansen.