OSLO, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Norway will launch its 2017 licensing round for so-called mature areas on Tuesday, allowing oil and gas firms access to up to 87 new offshore exploration blocks, Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tord Lien told news agency NTB.
Final awards of acreage, which depend among other things on the level of interest from oil companies, is expected to take place in January 2018, NTB said.
Also known as licensing of pre-defined areas, the mature round aims to award new acreage close to existing developments, allowing companies to tap in to any discoveries through infrastructure that is already in place.
A total of 33 firms applied for acreage in the corresponding 2016 round, including Statoil, Shell, ConocoPhillips, Aker BP and Lundin Petroleum . (Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)