OSLO, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Norway's annual licensing round of
new acreage for oil and gas exploration, including some in the
Arctic Barents Sea, has attracted bids from 31 oil companies,
the country's energy ministry said on Wednesday.
The ministry's announcement follows Norway's parliamentary
elections this week where climate change and the future of the
country's oil industry were major topics of debate.
The vote culminated on Monday in a decisive https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/norway-opposition-expected-win-election-fought-oil-inequality-2021-09-13victory
for the centre-left opposition. Labour is expected to lead the
next government, which is likely to be formed in mid-October,
and would thus be responsible for making the eventual awards of
acreage, which could take place early next
Several smaller political parties are calling for a halt https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/climate-change-election-spotlight-oil-giant-norway-2021-08-31
to exploration, the Labour Party has said that any transition
away from oil will be a gradual one and that drilling will
Awards of acreage in so-called predefined areas (APA) allow
oil firms to search for oil and gas in the vicinity of existing
discoveries, potentially adding more reserves that can rapidly
Companies seeking new exploration acreage include Equinor
, Aker BP, ConocoPhillips and
Lundin Energy among others, the ministry said.
SEARCHING FOR MORE OIL
"It's gratifying to see the continued high level of interest
to identify additional resources near existing fields and
infrastructure," licence management chief Kalmar Ildstad of the
Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said in a separate statement.
Norway emitted about 13.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide
equivalent in 2020 from fossil fuel production, but emissions
from its oil and gas used abroad were 30 times higher https://www.reuters.com/article/norway-election-oil-idCNL1N2Q21UD,
at more than 400 million tonnes, Oslo-based climate think-tank
In January of this year, the government concluded its 2020
pre-defined areas licensing round by awarding stakes in 61
exploration blocks to 30 oil firms.
For the 2021 round, Norway has proposed up to 84 new blocks
for oil and gas exploration, including 70 in the Arctic Barents
The offer included new blocks southeast of Bear Island,
about half way between the Arctic Svalbard Archipelago and
Norway introduced the pre-defined area rounds in 2003 to
facilitate exploration in the most geologically known parts of
the Norwegian continental shelf.
Norway has expanded the pre-defined areas with each round,
which now constitute most of the areas opened for petroleum
activities on the Norwegian continental shelf.
(Editing by Gwladys Fouche and Jane Merriman)