More gas contracts in the pipeline

Norway said on Thursday it would award oil and gas exploration contracts for its 17th licensing round on the Norwegian continental shelf in the second quarter of 2002. Norway's Oil and Energy Ministry said in a statement a total of 32 blocks or parts of block would be announced. The ministry said that blocks off the coast of northern Norway, the so-called Nordland VI area, would not be included as it wanted to perform an impact study "before expanding the petroleum activity in this sensitive area". The deadline for submission of application for the licensing round was set for 18th March.