Norway's 2016 Oil & Gas Plan has Arctic Focus
Norway launched its 2016 oil and gas licencing round in mature areas on Thursday, expanding it to include blocks in the Arctic Barents Sea in a bid to increase northern exploration activity, the oil ministry said.
"The petroleum industry is still moving towards the north. By announcing new blocks in the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea the government is facilitating increased activity in the north," oil minister Tord Lien said in a statement.
The ministry said it was seeking applications until September and planning to award licences in early 2016. Some 32 blocks are on offer in the Barents Sea and 24 blocks in the Norwegian Sea.
Norway offers licences in mature areas every year, hoping to attract explorers to blocks passed up or handed back in earlier years. In last year's mature areas licencing round, Norway handed out 56 licences to 36 companies.
Reporting by Stine Jacobsen