Norway is offering a spate of new licences to hunt for oil in its coastal waters.
Shell, Centrica, ConocoPhillips and DONG are among the 48 companies contacted by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy about 65 new production licences in the North Sea, Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea.
Tord Lien, Minister of Petroleum and Energy said: “This is a new record, both in the number of production licences and the number of companies.”
Norway hopes firms can overcome the challenges in “mature” oil fields which usually bring up smaller discoveries by using equipment already in place or planned.
Mr Lien added: “The awards provide a good basis for further exploration of some of the most well-established exploration areas on the Norwegian shelf.”