ExxonMobil was the first company to buy the data, Offshore.no reports. The American oil giant was soon followed by Shell, Statoil, RWE Dea, GDF Suez and Dong Energy.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate in the period 2007-2009 spent about 420 million NOK (€54 million) on the collection of seismic data from the Lofoten and Vesterålen waters, areas believed to be among the most prospective on the Norwegian shelf.
Read also: 2000 km2 of seismic data from Lofoten
The areas in focus are first of all the Nordland VII and Troms II blocks. Preliminary estimates from Statoil indicate that the areas can hide up to three billion tons of oil.
-This is an interesting area for us, Public Affairs Director at ExxonMobil Kristin Kragseth, says to the Offshore.no.
The data packages cost 43.2 million NOK.
The Norwegian government coalition in 2009 introduced a moratorium on drilling in the vulnerable waters. At the same time, it said that it will continue to gather data from the area. The moratorium was seen as a major victory for government junior partner Socialist Left Party.
Read also: No exploration in Lofoten – yet
Meanwhile, the oil industry continues to push for the opening of the waters to exploration.