TULLOW Oil has expanded its presence in the North Sea with the acquisition of interests in eight new licenses.
The eight licenses, four of which Irish-founded Tullow is the designated operator for, are located off the coast of Norway.
A total of 65 offshore licenses were up for grabs. There was high interest from oil firms, despite a recent oil tax hike and increased industry costs.
Other successful bidders included Premier Oil, which gained an interest in two licenses, both of which it will operate.
Norwegian authorities hope the interest will prolong production, after the world's seventh-biggest crude oil exporter saw its oil output fall to a 25-year low in 2013.
The licensing rounds were the first after the previous centre-left government, which left power in October, introduced an oil tax hike opposed by oil and gas companies.
The tax increase, together with sharply higher costs and lower oil prices, has led to delays in the development of flagship Arctic projects as well as of smaller oilfields further south.
"Tullow's appetite for Norwegian acreage, based on the number of licences pursued, would appear undiminished" said Goodbody stockbrokers.