Denmark on Wednesday issued 16 oil and gas exploration licenses in the North Sea, just days after A.P. Moller-Maersk threatened to shut down the country’s main gas field. The licenses were awarded to Danish and international players including Dong Energy, Hess Denmark, Wintershall Noordzee, Nordsofonden and Edisson International, Denmark’s Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate said.
“With the low oil prices we currently are experiencing it is a great result,” Energy Minister Lars Chr. Lilleholt said in the statement. The oil subsidiary of Maersk, which was not among the winning bidders, said this week it will shut the Tyra gas field in October 2018 if it cannot find a solution by the end of this year to make the ageing site profitable in the long term.
Denmark’s tax proceeds from the North Sea have fallen from 36 billion Danish crowns ($5.5 bln) in 2008. In December the government said it expected tax revenues from oil and gas of just 4 billion crowns this year, but that was based on an oil price of almost $50 per barrel, well above the current $38.60 level for Brent. Other winners in the biding round for the North Sea exploration licences were PA Resources, Ardent Oil, Dana Petroleum, Danoil Exploration, DEA Deutsche Erdoel, Dyas and Hansa Hydrocarbons, the ministry said.