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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Shell: To Stay In Norwegian Sea For Norway's 19th Round ( 23 Feb 05




OSLO -- Royal Dutch/Shell Group (RD, SC) will stay in the Norwegian Sea for Norway's 19th oil and gas licensing round, despite the fact that much of the activity will be focused in the Barents Sea, a spokesman said Wednesday.


Wednesday was the deadline for companies to nominate areas to the Norwegian Oil and Energy Ministry they would like to explore.


"The Norwegian Sea has been a heartland for exploration in Europe and will remain so," spokesman Svein Ildgruben said.


Oil and Energy Minister Thorhild Widvey previously said the southern part of the Barents Sea - where one third of the country's undiscovered oil and gas reserves are expected to lie - would be the focus of the 19th round.


The Barents is an Arctic sea due north of Scandinavia and northwestern Russia. Statoil ASA (STO), which says it nominated blocks in the sea, estimates the Norwegian part of the sea to hold 8 billion barrels of oil equivalent.


The ministry said it will launch the round by June.


-by Ian Talley, Dow Jones Newswires, (47) 22 20 10 58;



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