BODOE, Norway (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L expects to take part in the next bidding round for exploration licences offshore Norway, after dropping out of the latest one, the head of its Norwegian unit said on Monday.
The oil major pulled its application from Norway’s 23rd Arctic-focused oil licensing round in April, saying it needed to take a break to assess its exploration plans after the acquisition of BG, and due to low oil prices.
“We are looking forward to the 24th round in order to increase our activity on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS),” Tor Arnesen, the head of Shell’s Norwegian unit, told an oil conference in northern Norway.
Arnesen said the decision to pull out of the 23rd licensing round was “sad and very regrettable” for the company, which has been a long-standing operator off Norway.
Monday’s announcement may come as a relief to the Nordic country, which saw the withdrawal as a blow to its ambitions to explore for oil and gas in its northern offshore areas.
Shell also applied for acreage in Norway’s so-called mature areas licensing round (APA) in September, which included 33 companies in total.
The annual mature areas awards are normally announced in January.
Brent crude LCOc1 was trading near $48 per barrel on Monday, less than half its price in mid-2014, weighed down by oversupply and squeezing the incomes of exporting nations.
Reporting by Joachim Dagenborg; Writing by Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by Mark Potter
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