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OSLO, May 9 (Reuters) - Norway will hold a new licensing round for its offshore oil and gas fields in already opened areas, further expanding the exploration acreage available to energy firms, the oil ministry said on Wednesday.
Areas in the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea will be offered to oil companies, who have until September to submit their applications. The ministry plans to award licenses at the beginning of 2019, it said.
"Access to prospective exploration acreage is crucial in order to make new petroleum discoveries. New discoveries on the Norwegian continental shelf ensure value creation, employment and Government revenues," Energy Minister Terje Soeviknes said in a statement.
The latest licensing round has been expanded by a total of 103 blocks compared to last year, 47 of which were in the Norwegian Sea and 56 in the Barents Sea, the ministry added. (Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, editing by Terje Solsvik)