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Norway to add more Arctic acreage for oil and gas drilling

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OSLO, Jan 31 (Reuters) -Norway plans to add another 37 blocks to its annual so-called pre-defined areas (APA)oil and gas licensing round in the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea, the country's energy ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

In total, 34 of the new blocks were located in the south-east Barents Sea, while the remaining three were in the Norwegian Sea.

"Access to new, attractive acreage is a cornerstone of the government's policy to develop the (oil and gas) industry further," the country's Energy Minister Terje Aasland said.

The latest expansion of APA areas, which today cover more than two-thirds of the total area on the Norwegian continental shelf, where commercial oil and gas drilling is allowed, is down from 92 blocks added in the previous round, APA 2023.

Earlier this month the government awarded 62 exploration permits to 25 oil and gas companies in APA 2023, but only three Norwegian companies - Equinor ENQR.OL, Aker BP AKRBP.OL and Vaar Energi VAR.OL - showed an interest in the Barents Sea.

Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis in Oslo and Essi Lehto in Helsinki, editing by Terje Solsvik


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