STAVANGER, Norway, May 2 (UPI) -- An offshore area between the Norwegian and Greenland borders will be examined this summer for possible petroleum reserves, the Norwegian government said.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate announced plans Friday to map the subsurface layer of the western reaches of the Norwegian continental shelf.
Nils Rune Sandsta, NPD's manager for the project, said the area, dubbed the More basin, is a geological "blank spot" on the Norwegian continental shelf. Drilling this summer will target an area where continental plates separate.
"Material from this area is therefore scientifically interesting," he said in a statement. "It will also increase understanding of the More basin as exploration acreage for future petroleum activities."
NPD advised there was no fishing in the targeted areas and drilling into the subsea layer won't result in the release of any chemicals that may be harmful to the northern environment. The program, which begins later this month, should last about four weeks.
Norway is a European leader in oil and natural gas production. NPD said production figures from February, the last full month for which data are available, revealed about 1.5 million barrels of oil were produced along with nearly 325 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.