Norway gets applications from 33 oil firms to explore 'mature' areas

OSLO (Reuters) - The Norwegian oil and energy ministry has received applications from 33 companies for oil and gas licenses in so-called mature offshore areas, it said on Friday.

The number of applications was the same as for last year’s round. The ministry said it aimed to award licenses in early 2021.

In June, the ministry decided to offer 36 news blocks in the western part of the Norwegian Sea, close to areas that have been previously explored.

The ministry said companies expressed interest both in newly offered and previously added blocks.

Companies included international oil majors ConocoPhillips COP.N, Shell RDSa.L and Total TOTF.PA, as well as Norway's Equinor EQNR.OL, and independents such as Aker BP AKERBP.OL and Lundin LUNE.ST, it added.

Reporting by Gwladys Fouche and Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Nora Buli and Terje Solsvik