* Shell, Chevron, Total and others buy seismic data for area
* Jan Mayen area may contain 566 mln barrels oil equivalent
OSLO, July 1 Oil majors including Royal Dutch
Shell, Chevron and Total are
interested in the potential oil and gas resources off Jan Mayen
island in the Arctic, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said
These three companies, as well as London-listed Tullow Oil
, Sweden's Lundin Petroleum, Norway's Det
norske and Japan's Idemitsu, have bought
seismic data the agency has gathered since 2011.
In recent months oil companies have cooled in their
eagerness to explore for hydrocarbons in the Arctic, partly due
to Shell's problems with its Kulluk drillship off Alaska.
But the Arctic may still hold 13 percent of the world's
undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its gas.
The NPD mapped out the sea bed around Jan Mayen island,
situated to the east of Greenland and north of Iceland, and
thinks it could contain some 566 million barrels of oil
equivalent in reserves.
Oil companies may be keen to explore the area, but Norwegian
environmentalists are against such efforts, as Jan Mayen and its
surrounding seas are a nature reserve.
Oil exploration in the area has become politically
controversy in Norway in recent months.
In the same area, Iceland awarded its first oil licenses to
Valiant Petroleum and Faroe Petroleum in December, as it
looks to make use of its energy resources and boost its fragile
(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; Editing by David Holmes)