(Corrects source to Petroleum Directorate from energy ministry in first para)
OSLO, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Some 11 oil firms applied for stakes in exploration blocks offshore Norway in its ongoing 24th oil and gas licensing round, which has a record number of blocks on offer in the Arctic Barents Sea, the country’s Petroleum Directorate said on Tuesday.
By comparison, the 23rd round received applications from 26 firms.
Companies seeking to gain new acreage for oil and gas exploration off Norway include Statoil, Aker BP , Lundin Petroleum, Shell, OMV and Centrica. (Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Terje Solsvik and Henrik Stolen)