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Oslo eager to develop offshore reserves

OSLO, Norway, April 2 (UPI) -- Development of mature oil and natural gas fields off Norway's coast is needed if the country expects to maintain energy security, the energy minister said.

Oslo announced it approved of a development plan for the Martin Linge natural gas field in the northern reaches of the North Sea. The government said natural gas from the field, formerly known as Hild, will be shipped by pipeline to the United Kingdom while oil extracted would be stored offshore.

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French energy company Total said in February that development of the Martin Linge license area represents a $4.2 billion investment.

"It is gratifying that the field has now matured to enable profitable development," Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe said in a statement. "The industry must be able to mature resources like this if we are to keep production levels up in coming years."

Total estimated there are at least 190 million barrels of oil equivalent in the field. The field was discovered in the mid-1970s.

Oslo last month announced the start of its annual licensing round for blocks and partial blocks in the North, Norwegian and Barents seas.

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