OSLO: Norway awarded 61 offshore exploration blocks to 30 oil firms in its latest pre-defined areas (APA) licensing round, Energy Minister Tina Bru said on Tuesday.
Firms that won licences included Equinor, Shell, Aker BP, ConocoPhillips, Total, Lundin Energy, Aker BP and Eni's Vaar Energi, among others.
"These companies have shown great interest in gaining access to new exploration acreage, illustrating the industry's confidence in continued profitability from exploration on the Norwegian continental shelf," Bru said of the applicants.
APA rounds cover areas with known geology or near existing infrastructure.
Sweden's Lundin received stakes in 19 licences, followed by Equinor with stakes in 17 licences, while Aker BP got 10. ConocoPhillips received stakes in four licences, Total in three and Shell in one.
Vaar Energi will operate all three licences awarded in the Arctic Barents Sea.
Norway has also invited oil firms to submit applications by Feb. 23 for 136 exploration blocks in frontier areas in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea.
Last December, the country's top court dismissed a lawsuit by environmental groups against oil exploration in Arctic waters.
Norway is western Europe's largest oil and gas producer, with a daily output of around 4 million barrels of oil equivalent.
For a full list of awards, click on https://bit.ly/3sCuDOp - Reuters
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