Drilling further north, farther east
Oil nation Norway will in its upcoming license round offer blocks as far north as the Svalbard Fisheries Protection Zone and as far east as the Russian border.
The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has announced its proposals for blocks to be offered in the country’s upcoming 23rd License Round. Included in the list are 61 blocks, of which 34 will be in waters bordering on Russia and 20 in other parts of the Barents Sea.
The northernmost blocks proposed included in the License Round are located 73 degrees north, on the latude of the Bear Island and the Svalbard Fisheries Protection Zone. According to the map distrubuted by the ministry, four blocks are on 73 degrees north, while another six blocks are located directly along the Russian border.
Never before has drilling been conducted this far north in the Barents Sea. And never has drilling taken place along the Norwegian-Russian maritime borderline.
The list of new blocks comes after 40 energy companies early this year nominated a total of 160 desired blocks in northern Norwegian waters. The ministry’s list of 61 blocks is likely to be the final number, which will be announced in the 23rd License Round. The license round is to take place in the first half of 2014.
”The blocks include the least known areas on the [Norwegian] shelf where the likelihood of making new, major discoveries is the biggest”, a press release reads. The Ministry underlines that the progress plan in the area is based on a gradual step-by-step principle and that only a certain number of key blocks will be offered in the upcoming round.