Inpex, JX Nippon Oil win North Sea exploration rights
TOKYO, Oct 29 (Reuters) - JX Nippon Oil and Gas Exploration Corp and Inpex Corp were among companies that won oil and gas exploration rights for blocks in the North Sea, the Japanese firms said on Monday. JX Nippon Oil will drill for oil and gas in 18 blocks in the central North Sea and the west of Shetland area, the Japanese company said in a statement. It will be the operator for five blocks in the Shetland area, while GDF Suez, OMV AG and A.P. Moller-Maersk were assigned as operators for the remaining 13, said JX Nippon, which is involved in all the blocks. E.ON AG, Eni SPA, BP Plc and Idemitsu Kosan Co of Japan are also involved in the blocks. Inpex, Japan's largest energy explorer, said in a separate statement it won three blocks in the southeast and south, along with Centrica Resources Ltd, a subsidiary of Centrica Plc , and a U.K. unit of Statoil ASA. Centrica, the operator of the blocks, and Statoil have 35 percent stakes in the venture, while Inpex has 30 percent. "The offshore area near Shetland Island, where the blocks Inpex won lie, is an area where not many exploration activities have been conducted, and significant oil and natural gas discovery is expected," Inpex said in the statement. The three blocks cover an area of about 220 square kms (85 square miles) and lie under water depths of between 300 and 700 metres (2,300 feet), Inpex said. Results of North Sea licensing round, according to JX Nippon and Inpex: Areas Partners Blocks West of Shetland JX (Op), Idemitsu 205/4c West of Shetland JX (Op), GDF Suez, 214/23, 214/24, Idemitsu 214/28, 214/29 West of Shetland OMV (Op), JX, E.ON 213/5, 214/1, 214/4c, 215/30, 216/26, 216/27 West of Shetland GDF Suez (Op), JX 219/23, 219/24, 219/28 Central North Sea Maersk (Op), JX, ENI, BP 22/24f, 22/25f Central North Sea GDF Suez (Op), JX, 30/2e, 30/3b Maersk Southeast, South Centrica (Op), Inpex, 214/28, 214/29, Statoil 214/30
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