The Norwegian government has awarded 28 oil and gas companies a total of 69 offshore blocks to explore for petroleum in mature areas of its continental shelf, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said on Tuesday.
It did not immediately name the winners. Thirty-three oil companies had submitted bids by a September deadline for a total of 90 offshore exploration blocks, including 48 blocks in the Arctic Barents Sea.
While Norway’s output is expected to rise sharply in the next several years as recent large discoveries come on stream, authorities are keen to extend the lifespan of the oil and gas industry for decades to come.
The annual predefined areas (APA) licensing round covers blocks adjacent to acreage previously explored or developed, as opposed to licensing rounds in the country’s frontier areas.
Still, the number of awards was lower than the record 83 that had been handed out in last year’s APA round.
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