Norway proposed on March 30 offering oil firms 36 offshore exploration blocks in an annual licensing round in mature areas, but for the first time in a decade it didn’t include any acreage in the Arctic Barents Sea.
The energy ministry, announcing the plan on March 30, said it was still important to plan for the future despite the challenging environment, which has oil prices slump. However, the proposed number of blocks on offer was down from 90 blocks proposed in the previous round a year ago, of which the government eventually awarded 69 blocks.
All the blocks are offered in the western part of the Norwegian Sea, with interested parties asked to submit comments in a public hearing by May 11, the oil and energy ministry said.
“In demanding times, it is important to plan for the future,” Norway’s Oil and Energy Minister Tina Bru said in a statement.
“Regular access to new exploration is crucial to further develop our largest industry and maintain activity on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.”
The ministry did not say why it was not offering any blocks in the Barents Sea, the first time it has not done so since 2010.
Greenpeace, which has previously called on Norway to stop exploring for new petroleum resources, said there would be little demand given the recent slump in oil prices.
“It clearly shows that there is little appetite from the industry for drilling in the Barents Sea, up in the sensitive Arctic,” Frode Pleym, head of Greenpeace in Norway, told Reuters.
The oil and energy ministry was not immediately available for further comment.
Norway introduced annual rounds for mature areas in 2003 to expand areas that have been already explored or had an existing oil and gas infrastructure.
Greenpeace said the country should use the oil market crash to speed up its transition to renewable energy.
Oil prices fell sharply again on March 30, with North Sea oil hitting its lowest level in 18 years at below $23 per barrel, on heightened fears that the shutdown of much of the global economy due to the coronavirus could last months and demand for fuel could decline further.
DCP Midstream captures environmental excellence and energy conservations honors; Bartlett wins lifetime achievement.
Milestone achieved three months ahead of schedule.
Sempra LNG, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, said May 18 that Cameron LNG has begun producing LNG from the third and final liquefaction train of its Phase 1 liquefaction-export project in Hackberry, Louisiana.