Norwegian explorer Statoil returned three licenses off the west coast of Greenland this month, the company confirmed.
The reduction follows the company’s announcement last February that it would cut back on Arctic exploration efforts to control capital expenditures.
According to Greenland’s Mineral Licence and Safety Authority, the fourth license is No. 2013/41 (Avinngaq), also known as block 6, located in Northeast Greenland. Statoil operates the license (52.5% interest) with partners ConocoPhillips (35%) and Nunaoil (12.5%). The license covers an offshore area spanning 2548sq km. Statoil was awarded the license in December 2013.
Knut Rostad, a spokesperson for Statoil, said the company held onto the license due to the length of the exploration period, which expires in 2029.
“The license period is 16 years, and we will in the first phase collect seismic data before taking the decision what to do next,” Rostad told OE.
Jørgen T. Hammeken-Holm of Greenland’s Ministry of Mineral Resources told OE that surrendering licenses is common. “Licensees are coming and going,” Hammeken-Holm said. “Greenland therefore has a strategy where we have license rounds almost every 2nd year for different areas around Greenland.”
Hammeken-Holm says GDF Suez and DONG Energy have also withdrawn from licenses recently.
Image of Block 06. From Statoil