The National Energy Authority of Iceland (NEA), yesterday, announced the second Licensing Round for hydrocarbon exploration and production licences on the Icelandic Continental Shelf. The offer will be open from October 3, 2011 until April 2, 2011.
The blocks on offer in the Second Licensing Round are located in the Dreki Area, northeast of Iceland, from 67°00′N to 68°30′N and 11°30′W to 6°20′W. The area covers 42,700 square kilometers. Water depths range mostly from 800-2000 meters, which is well within the reach of currently available and tested technology for undersea oil drilling.
The Dreki Area is a part of the Jan Mayen Ridge micro-continent, which was separated from the continental shelf of Greenland and Norway by plate tectonic movements 45-60 million years ago. Seismic surveys and other geophysical measurements indicate that oil and gas could be found in the Dreki Area as they have been in adjacent and geologically similar areas. Further research, including exploratory drilling, is necessary to verify whether oil or gas exists in the Dreki Area.
There will be stringent requirements on security and work safety as well as on environmental protection similar to the requirements in the neighbouring countries. Use of the best available technology will be demanded to reduce the environmental impact and risk of accidents and mishaps.
A Strategic Environmental Assessment has been completed for the Dreki Area and considerable research has been done on the marine biosphere, climate and sea conditions in the area. There is no danger of sea ice under present climatic conditions and the wave heights are lower than off the west-coast of Norway. This research is important in evaluating the impact of oil exploration. No major obstacles were found to oil exploration.
Source: NEA, October 4, 2011;