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Oslo touts interest in offshore reserves

Sept. 10, 2012 at 6:30 AM

OSLO, Norway, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- The number of applications received for exploration in mature areas of the Norwegian continental shelf reflects ongoing interest, the government said.

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy said it received applications from 47 companies for a bidding round for reserves on its continental shelf.

Norwegian Energy Minister Ola Borten Moe said the number of applicants shows the region remains an area of interest for potential investors.

"The government wants to maintain a stable level of exploration activity while also ensuring continued value creation and securing future state revenue streams from petroleum activities," he said in a statement.

Labor strikes in the Norwegian energy sector have cut into the production potential in the country. The International Energy Agency said July oil production from Norway was as its lowest level since 1991 because of strikes.

Last week, the British government said it was offering a tax break for operators looking to explore the oil and natural gas potential in the North Sea. That followed a mid-August report from Oslo that said drilling costs on the Norwegian continental shelf are 40 percent higher than for the United Kingdom.

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