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Norway: Little Knowledge on Northeastern Barents, NPD Says

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The Norwegian Government has decided that the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate will map the geology in the northeastern part of Norway’s new sea area in the Barents Sea. According to the plan, the seismic surveys will start this summer and continue into 2013. This will provide important knowledge regarding possible oil and gas resources in this area.

“We have very little knowledge concerning the geology in the northeastern Barents Sea. In order to know more about the resource potential, we need more data,” says Sissel Eriksen, exploration director in the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.

On 15 September 2010, Norway and Russia signed the agreement relating to maritime demarcation and cooperation in the Barents Sea and Arctic Ocean. The agreement entered into force on 7 July 2011.

On the Norwegian side, the Government has started an opening process with the aim of awarding production licenses in the southeastern sector of the Barents Sea. The geological mapping started last summer and will continue until this summer.

Earlier this year, the NPD entered into contracts regarding two vessels that will acquire seismic data both in the southeastern sector of the Barents Sea, in the sea area around Jan Mayen and in Nordland IV and V this summer.

“The plans to also map the northeastern sector of the Barents Sea mean that we need more capacity to acquire seismic. This assignment has been submitted for tender,” says Eriksen.

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Greece Investigates Shale Gas

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The Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Climate Change announced a special preparatory research project to be awarded to the Greek state-owned Institute for Geology and Mineral Exploration (IGME), in order to explore potential shale gas reserves in the territory. More specifically, the Deputy Minister Ioannis Maniatis revealed in a press conference that after a series of preliminary examinations by a scientific committee on the issue, the decision was taken based on similar initiatives by other European countries.

Moreover, the Greek Ministry released a report examining best practices in other countries and concluding that the present day technology can be of use regarding the potential Greek reserves. Special note was highlighted in the examples of Poland, France and Bulgaria. Moreover it was made known that in the near future Greece may join the Shale Gas Resource initiative.

Furthermore Maniatis noted to the press “The research regarding shale gas is an integral part of the national strategy for energy that focuses on the use of gas either of a conventional or unconventional nature”. Moreover he added that ” The prospects for shale gas worldwide are impressive, since in the year 2000 just 1% of the global production of natural gas came from that source, whilst nowadays that figure has multiplied, and for that reason and for the purpose of Greek energy security the Ministry will proceed if adequate reserves exist in Greece, keeping in mind the present optimistic data”.

IGME, responsible for state-directed geological research in the country and the outlook for the shale gas, will survey for a three-month period beginning in early 2012, before any initial findings are announced.  Further, it is possible that the research will be funded by EU structural capital and will also involve the cooperation its Bulgarian counterparts who are already researching in their own country.

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