Canada to award offshore licences soon

Jan 30, 1997 01:00 AM

Exploration licences for eight areas offshore Canada's east coast are due to be awarded imminently. The Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board (CNOPB) said bids were received for all eight parcels on offer in its 1996 land sale. Chevron, Mobil, Petro-Canada and Norsk Hydro, who already have a major presence off Newfoundland, have picked up the bulk of awards. Four of the licences: parcels one, two, three and four, lie on the prolific Grand Banks region where Chevron's Hibernia and Petro-Canada's Terra Nova fields are being developed. The remaining four licences: parcels five, six, seven and eight, lie in the lightly explored Gulf of St Lawrence between Newfoundland and Quebec province. Of the expected successful bidders, a consortium comprising Petro- Canada, Mobil, Chevron and Norsk Hydro has the largest planned work expenditure - C$ 65 mm ($ 47.7 mm) - devoted to exploring parcel two to the west of Terra Nova. The same consortium is also thought to have bid successfully C$ 31 mm, C$ 26 mm and C$ 3 mm for parcels one, three and four respectively. These parcels lie east and north of Hibernia and Terra Nova. A consortium of Newfoundland Hunt Oil, PanCanadian and Mobil is due to be awarded parcels five, six and seven with winning bids of C$ 200,000 and less. Parcel eight will go to an Imperial Venture-led consortium for about C$ 50,000. The licence periods are initially for five years with a four-year option. Meanwhile, CNOPB plans to submit its choice of parcels to be offered in the 1997 land sale to the provincial and federal governments later this month. Approval of the parcels to be offered and their licence terms is expected shortly after. A call for bids will be announced this March with the successful bidders notified in September or October.

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