Majors eye SE Barents moves

BP, ConocoPhillips and Statoil have joined other major oil companies in showing an interest in the resource potential of part of the Barents Sea and around Jan Mayen island off Norway, reported on Wednesday.

Italy’s Eni, BG Group of the UK and French player GDF Suez have also snapped up the seismic data package which has been on offer from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate for acreage in the South-east Barents and off Jan Mayen.

A total of 15 oil companies have now bought the package at Nkr 12 million ($1.99m ) plus VAT including Denmark’s Dong Energy and OMV of Austria.

By early July seven companies had already taken packages: Shell, Total, Chevron, Tullow Oil, Lundin Petroleum, Det Norske Oljeselskap and Idemitsu.

The packages include fresh data shot by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) in the South-east Barents, as well as off Jan Mayen island, in surveys carried out in 2011 and 2012.

Norway’s parliament recently approved a proposal to open for up for exploration a 44,000 square-kilometre area of the South-east Barents formerly disputed with Russia that is estimated to hold about 1.9 billion barrels of oil equivalent, mostly gas.

It has opened the door for a licensing round that is expected to be launched later this year amid keen interest among explorers for the Arctic frontier acreage.

Opening of the area off Jan Mayen has though been put on ice pending further geological studies by the NPD to better determine its resource potential.

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