Norway offered 92 new blocks to explore for oil and gas in the Norwegian and the Barents Seas on Wednesday in so-called APA round, the country's oil and energy ministry said.
In recent years, Norway used annual APA rounds to aggressively expand exploration acreage in the Arctic Barents Sea, in hopes of opening a new oil and gas province. No major finds had been made.
"We need to find more gas in the Barents Sea to put in place new infrastructure. Further exploration is important to ensure that Norway remains a secure and predictable supplier of oil and gas to Europe," Minister of Energy and Petroleum Terje Aasland said in a statement.
There are two producing fields in the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea. Another is expected to start production in 2024.
The offer consists of 78 new blocks in the western part of the Barents Sea and 14 blocks in northwestern part of the Norwegian Sea.
Oil and gas companies can also apply to the blocks offered in the previous APA rounds, which had not been awarded, also in the North Sea.
The deadline to submit bids is August 23, while the awards are expected to be announced in the beginning of 2024, the ministry said.
(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by Alison Williams and David Gregorio)