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Ex Soviet company eyes Norway drilling

Fresh Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) discoveries have attracted pre-qualification applications from a Kazakh oil company.

“Until now we’ve mainly had western firms here, but everyone is evaluated equally. They qualify if they have the necessary expertise,” Johannes Kjøde, Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) strategy, communication and international co-operation Deputy Director General, tells Aftenbladet.

Norwegian officials introduced the operator/licensee pre-qualification system following a desire for fresh, competent actors on the NCS.

Many new and smaller companies have also been granted access since 2000, in addition to some major Norwegian and foreign ones. Applications from seven other firms are now under review.

The two-stage process begins by contacting Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. Both the NPD and Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) subsequently review each company.

Russia’s largest oil corporation Lukoil was handed Petroleum and Energy Ministry approval for access to the NCS earlier this year. KazmunayGas, also part of the now former Soviet Union, could become the second.

 “The Aldous/Avaldsnes Elephant-sized oil discoveries have attracted international interest. It’s nice companies want to come to Norway. It means we’re not dead,” concludes the NPD’s Johannes Kjøde.

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