Maersk Oil Enters Norway’s Barents Sea Arctic with New License

Location of
Location of PL710. Image courtesy Maersk Oil

Maersk Oil on Wednesday said it has been offered at 20% interest in a new oil license (PL710) from Norway in the arctic Barents Sea.

“This is Maersk Oil’s entrance to the Barents Sea in Norway. We are pleased with this result of a very competitive license round. We see large potential in this part of the Barents Sea and are looking forward to start the exploration work,” said Morten W. Jeppesen, Managing Director for Maersk Oil in Norway.

Operator of the license will be Total E&P Norge AS with 40% interest. Other partners are Tullow Oil Norge AS and GDF Suez E&P Norge AS each with 20% interest.

Building Arctic competencies in northern Norway and West Greenland

The arctic conditions of the Barents Sea have some similarities with the conditions of the Baffin Bay in West Greenland where Maersk Oil’s has an operated exploration license, the company said in a statement.

“We will use our experience as operator in Greenland in our work in the Barents Sea, for example the knowledge we have about environmental assessments in the arctic,” said Morten W. Jeppesen, Managing Director for Maersk Oil in Norway.

Maersk Oil was awarded a license in the offshore Block 9, ‘Tooq’ in Baffin Bay, North Western Greenland, in December 2010. Maersk Oil is the operator with an interest of 47.5%. The Greenlandic state oil company NunaOil is a carried partner in the exploration period with an interest of 12.5%. Tullow Oil, who is also partner in PL710 in Norway, holds the remaining 40% interest.

Continued growth in Norway

Over the past months, Maersk Oil has taken over operations at two new blocks in Norway, one from Marathon Oil Norge AS (PL505/ PL505BS) in the North Sea and the other from North Energy (PL510) in the Norwegian Sea. The company has also recently agreed with Statoil to acquire its interest in PL 211, which is located in the Norwegian Sea.

With the award of PL710 announced today, Maersk Oil holds interest in 24 licenses on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, including nine as operator. Maersk Oil holds interests in the Zidane gas discovery and in the giant Johan Sverdrup field.

“The new licences fit well into Maersk Oil’s growth strategy in Norway by adding operatorships and interests in the Barents Sea which is a new focus area. Our growing exploration portfolio and the shares in the Johan Sverdrup and Zidane discoveries are important steps on the way to realize our long-term ambition to strengthen our position as a material E&P company in Norway,” said Jeppesen.