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Wed Apr 8, 2020, 08:41 AM

Norway Drops Barents Sea Blocks From Development After Test Wells Come Up Empty ($20 Oil Helping)

On Monday, as crude-oil dropped below $20 for a short while, the Norwegian ministry of oil and energy proposed to include 36 new blocks in this year’s licensing round.

Surprisingly, though, none of the blocks are in the Barents Sea, a move unseen from the ministry since the times before Norway and Russia in 2010 signed the maritime delimitation treaty for the Barents Sea. All new blocks are in the predefined areas in the Norwegian Sea, and all are west of the existing predefined areas already approved. That means further out from the coast. The northernmost proposed blocks are west of Helgeland, at the Arctic Circle.

“Awards in pre-defined areas contribute to the exploration of the well-known parts of the shelf, and they are sought-after by the companies,” said Minister for Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru. “In these challenging times it is important to plan for the future,” the minister underscored.

A year ago, Norway’s oil major Equinor had to admit that it’s drilling near the maritime border to Russia in the Barents Sea ended without any findings. The Gjøkåsen Deep, part of license 857, was believed to hold a significant hydrocarbon potential. This January, Swedish-based Lundin said their drillings at Alta and Gohta field in the western part of the Barents Sea had shown that the blocks were no longer considered to hold commercially viable resources.



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