Watching the World: Hazy horizons off southern Europe

Recent reports that the Portuguese government plans to open virgin tranches of deepwater acreage on the country's outer continental shelf to exploration license bidding next year-drilling could begin in 2004-will doubtless brighten the picture of otherwise low prospectivity being painted for Offshore Southern Europe.Adding a swath of unexplored acreage to the radar screens of those oil companies still eyeing the lesser of Europe's offshore regions would be a leap forward for Portugal-and the region as a whole. The country's government introduced legislation in 1994 to spur exploration, but 5 years passed before it struck a deal with Norwegian contractor TGS-Nopec AS to shoot 1...

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