Norway to Offer 136 New Offshore Exploration Blocks in Barents Sea Push


November 19, 2020
Illustration: An Offshore Drilling Rig in Norway/Credit: Tupungato/AdobeStock

Illustration: An Offshore Drilling Rig in Norway/Credit: Tupungato/AdobeStock

Norway will offer oil firms exploration blocks in nine frontier areas, including eight regions of the Arctic Barents Sea and one in the Norwegian Sea, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and the Petroleum Directorate (NPD) said on Thursday.

The government offered 136 blocks, in line with a preliminary indication made in June, including 125 in the Barents Sea, in what amounts to a major expansion of oil exploration in the Arctic.

"New discoveries are necessary to ensure continued activity, ripple effects, employment and governmental revenues throughout the country," Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tina Bru said in a statement.

Environmental groups have said Norway's drive to find more Arctic oil and gas contradicts the country's international commitments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions (CO2).

The Norwegian Supreme Court is due to rule in the coming weeks or months on the legality of an earlier licensing round in the Arctic.

Norway is western Europe's top oil and gas producer with daily output of some 4 million barrels of oil equivalent. (Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Terje Solsvik)

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