Norway has offered on June 21, 2017, a record number of blocks for exploration in the Arctic Barents Sea.
The latest licensing round includes a total of 102 blocks, with 93 in the Barents sea and 9 in the Norwegian Sea.
The country’s Energy Minister Terje Søviknes said: «New exploration acreage promotes long-term activity, value creation and profitable employment in the petroleum industry across the country. Profitable activity on the Norwegian continental shelf provides employment, as well as revenues to the state. Thus, awarding prospective acreage to the petroleum industry is a central pillar in the Norwegian government’s petroleum policy.»
The application deadline for the licensing round is 30 November, and the ministry hopes to announce the awards during the 1st half of 2018.
But the plans have been met with anger from environmental groups who believe that the country is not respecting the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Greenpeace Norway’s head said: «This is an attack on the environment. It’s a confirmation that the Norwegian government doesn’t take their own climate commitments from Paris seriously.»
Greenpeace is already taking legal action over the previous licensing round, arguing that the expansion of exploration will break the country’s climate commitments.