Iceland+ACYAIw-039+ADs-s Oil Dream in Peril as China, Norway Give Up Last Block

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+ADw-div class+AD0AIg-articleDate+ACIAPgA8-div class+AD0AIg-articleSource+ACIAPgA8-p+AD4-by +AKA-Bloomberg+ADw-/p+AD4APA-p+AD4AfAA8-/p+AD4-Mikael Holter +ACY-amp+ADs Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir+ADw-/div+AD4APA-p+AD4AfAA8-/p+AD4-Tuesday, January 23, 2018+ADw-/div+AD4
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+ADw-p+AD4-Iceland’s hope of finding oil offshore its coast is fading.+ADw-/p+AD4
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+ADw-p+AD4(Bloomberg) — Iceland+IBk-s hope of finding oil offshore its coast is fading after China and Norway decided to back out of the island nation+IBk-s only remaining exploration license.+ADw-/p+AD4

+ADw-p+AD4-Cnooc Ltd., China+IBk-s state-controlled producer, and Petoro AS, Norway+IBk-s state-owned oil company, decided to relinquish their interest in the license, Iceland+IBk-s National Energy Authority said in a statement on Tuesday. Their junior partner, Eykon Energy ehf, says it wishes to keep its 15 percent stake, but the agency said the small explorer doesn+IBk-t have the technical or financial capacity to continue operations alone.+ADw-/p+AD4

+ADw-p+AD4-Iceland launched its first exploration round in 2009 as the nation was reeling from its economic collapse a year earlier. The north Atlantic island had high hopes, aiming to replicate the offshore success of Norway, western Europe+IBk-s biggest oil and gas producer. Two other blocks have already been relinquished.+ADw-/p+AD4

+ADw-p+AD4gHA-The operator, Cnooc, didn+IBk-t consider it attractive to continue to the next phase with such a low probability of finding commercially exploitable hydrocarbons,+IB0 Petoro spokesman Christian Buch Hansen said in an email. +IBw-Petoro Iceland supported the operator+IBk-s considerations and conclusion.+IB0APA-/p+AD4

+ADw-p+AD4-Eykon still sees +IBw-great opportunities+IB0 in the license, and asked the authority to give it time to look for other partners, board member Gunnlaugur Jonsson said in an interview.+ADw-/p+AD4

+ADw-p+AD4-The company now has three weeks to make its case to the government, the head of the Energy Authority, Gudni Johannesson, said in a separate interview. He didn+IBk-t say whether that included presenting potential new partners.+ADw-/p+AD4

+ADw-p+AD4-All hope of finding and producing oil offshore Iceland isn+IBk-t lost, Johannesson said. The agency has not put forth any current plans to issue new licenses, but Johannesson says the government may decide to do so at a later point.+ADw-/p+AD4

+ADw-p+AD4APA-em+AD4-To contact the reporters on this story: Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir in Reykjavik at rsigurdardot+AEA-bloomberg.net+ADs Mikael Holter in Oslo at mholter2+AEA-bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Herron at jherron9+AEA-bloomberg.net Jonas Bergman.+ADw-/em+AD4APA-/p+AD4
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