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The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said on Friday that it had granted two new drilling permits, one to Statoil to drill in the Barents Sea and another to Aker BP to drill in the North Sea in Norwegian waters bordering the UK shelf.
The Petroleum Directorate issued a permit to Statoil to drill a wildcat well in a production license in the Barents Sea. Statoil is operator of the license and holds 50 percent of the interest, with Eni Norge AS owing 30 percent and Petoro AS the remaining 20 percent. The well will be drilled about 25 km (15.5 miles) southeast of the Snøhvit field, which was the first offshore development in the Barents Sea, according to Statoil’s website.
The new drilling permit issued to Statoil is contingent upon the operator securing all other permits and consents required by other authorities prior to commencing drilling activities, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) said.
In a separate statement, the NPD said it granted Aker BP a drilling permit to drill a wildcat well in a production license in the central part of the North Sea bordering the UK shelf. This permit also hinges on operator Aker BP, which holds 65 percent of the license, securing all other authorizations. The other shareholder in the North Sea license is Lundin Norway AS with 35 percent.
Statoil and Lundin have recently decided to allocate more funds to Arctic drilling, especially since the oil price rise has been accompanied by a major discovery for Lundin and a likely future major discovery for Statoil.
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Last month, Norway announced initial plans to open a record number of oil exploration blocks in the Barents Sea. The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy is proposing 102 blocks in the 24th licensing round, of which nine blocks are in the Norwegian Sea, and a record-high 93 blocks are in the Barents Sea. A considerable number of the blocks proposed in the Barents Sea are located north of the northernmost oil discovery in Norway.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.