Seven oil companies have flagged their interest in the resource potential of the South-east Barents Sea off Norway after buying seismic packages from the country’s petroleum agency ahead of a possible licensing round later this year.
The list of buyers for the data, priced at Nkr12 million ($2 million), includes big-hitters Shell, Chevron and Total, as well as smaller players Tullow Oil, Lundin Petroleum, Det Norske Oljeselskap and Idemitsu Petroleum.
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.