May 9 (UPI) — Norway’s energy minister said Wednesday that bidders are invited to submit their applications for new oil and gas acreage on the Norwegian continental shelf.
The ministry announced that new acreage, mostly in the Norwegian and Barents Seas, is open for bidding in a new licensing round. Energy Minister Terje Søviknes said the offer is part of an effort to create long-term petroleum value for the Norwegian economy.
“New exploration opportunities are crucial for new discoveries,” he said in a statement. “New discoveries are important for long-term value creation, employment and government revenues from the Norwegian continental shelf. “
Around 60 percent of the undiscovered resources are in the Norwegian waters of the Barents Sea, and it’s there where maintaining a high level of production may be important over the long term.
Oil production in March, the last month for which full data are available, averaged 1.5 million barrels per day, based on preliminary figures, about 5 percent lower than the government’s forecast. Total gas production was 2.3 percent below the previous month and 1.1 percent less than expected.
For full-year 2018, Statistics Norway, the government’s record-keeping agency, expects total investments in oil and gas extraction and pipeline transport will be around $1.4 billion. That’s 11 percent higher than the government’s estimate for 2018 from the fourth quarter.
Norway is one of the main suppliers of oil and natural gas to the European market, apart from Russia. On the potential for future production, the Johan Sverdrup oil field in the Norwegian waters could be producing as much as 660,000 once all operational phases are in service by 2022.
For the new licensing round, each application has a fee of around $15,100. Applicants face a June 4 closing date.