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Battered by 2008 Economic Meltdown, Iceland Welcomes Expansion of Arctic Offshore Exploration

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March 24, 2013

Rendering via Havyard

March 22 (Bloomberg) — Iceland, which issued its first oil and gas exploration licenses this year, will probably order more supply vessels from Norway as it seeks to become a hub for explorers from Greenland to Jan Mayen.

Icelandic companies will probably follow oil-service provider Fafnir Offshore’s 7.3 billion kronur ($59 million) purchase of the country’s first platform supply vessel from Norway’s Havyard Group announced this week, Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphedinsson said.

“There are more parties that are interested,” he said in an interview in Oslo today. “The head start that Norway has is their amazing technology regarding offshore services. They have something that the competitors don’t have that matters to Iceland: they have experience in arctic circumstances.”

Iceland will seek to become an oil-service hub for exploration in its northern waters, off Norway’s Arctic Jan Mayen island and offshore Greenland, as the island recovers from the 2008 banking meltdown that led to its worst recession in six decades, Skarphedinsson said. The country already has some of the necessary infrastructure on its northern and eastern coasts, he said.

Iceland awarded its first two exploration licenses in the Dreki area in January, and expects drilling to start as soon as 2017, Skarphedinsson said. Norway’s state-owned Petoro AS has a 25 percent stake in one of the permits.

– Mikael Holter, Copyright 2013 Bloomberg.

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