By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Dec. 18 -- Iceland has approved its industry minister's proposal to offer in January 2009 oil and gas exploration and production licenses in the Dreki area northeast of Iceland on the Jan Mayen Ridge.
The area lies between Iceland and Norway's Jan Mayen Island. Norway's InSeis shot seismic in a 42,000 sq km area in Iceland waters south of Jan Mayen Island in 2001. Industry has expressed interest in the area, the ministry said Dec. 18.
The area lies 400 miles northwest of Norwegian continental shelf oil fields and north of the Faroe Islands, where several fields have been discovered (see map, OGJ, Aug. 20, 2007, p. 38).
The government said exploratory drilling is necessary to verify whether oil and gas exist in the Dreki area and that its approval is based on the findings of a detailed strategic environmental assessment.
Saying considerable discoveries could have a "vigorous impact" on Iceland's economy, it promised to place stringent requirements on work safety and environmental protection.
Discovery of producible quantities of oil and gas at Dreki would be a major addition to the hydropower and geothermal energy already produced in Iceland, the government said.