Norway plans to offer energy companies a record number of oil and gas exploration blocks in the Arctic in a bid to prolong hydrocarbon production, Reuters reports.
Norway, Europe's biggest gas supplier and a major crude oil exporter, is offering 78 blocks to energy companies in the Barents Sea, the most since the so-called APA licensing round began in 2003.
Oslo also plans to offer 14 new blocks in the Norwegian Sea, which extends north of the North Sea and beyond the Arctic Circle, bringing the total number of blocks offered to 92.
Norway's desire to continue producing oil and gas stems from the fact that energy companies are under conflicting pressures: on the one hand, they need to produce hydrocarbons not from Russia, and on the other hand, to limit the effects of climate change.
According to official Norwegian estimates, the Barents Sea may contain two-thirds of the oil and gas reserves yet to be discovered off the Norwegian coast.