Two companies, Aker Exploration and Sagex Petroleum, applied for special licenses for research and production of hydrocarbon in the Dragon Zone off Iceland’s northeastern shore. At least three years will pass before oil drilling can begin.
An oil tank at the harbor. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
The applications were opened at the National Energy Authority yesterday in the presence of Minister of Industry Katrín Júlíusdóttir. The minister said she was satisfied with the applicants and optimistic about their future, Fréttabladid reports.
“They [Aker Exploration and Sagex Petroleum] are outstanding professionals who have extensive knowledge in this field […] and obviously believe that there is a strong possibility that oil can be found there in a sufficient quantity for production,” Júlíusdóttir said.
The minister added that although oil profits are still in the distant future, oil exploration in itself will also be profitable for Iceland.
Júlíusdóttir explained that an education and research fund, to which the licensee will make donations to educate employees who will work in this field, will be established immediately. “Then when the exploration begins many jobs will created, 50 or more.”
Lárus Ólafsson, the National Energy Authority’s lawyer, said the applications will now be evaluated. “The final decision on granting licenses will be announced at the end of the coming October.”
Board member of Sagex Petroleum Gunnlaugur Jónsson said that his company would like to develop the oil industry domestically as much as possible. “Although it is important, of course, to seek knowledge from those who have it.”
The company’s CEO, Terje Hagevang, based his PhD project on research that he undertook in the Dragon Zone and is optimistic that it can be used for harnessing oil.
Sagex Petroleum is a subsidiary of the Norwegian company Sagex and was established for this project. In 2007 the Icelandic company Geysir Petroleum merged with Sagex and Icelanders now hold one fifth of shares in the company.
Aker Exploration is a Norwegian company that was established in 2006. Its chairman, Kjell Inge Roekke, is listed by Forbes as the world’s 468th wealthiest man and made his fortune from the fishing industry.
Click here to read more about the Dragon Zone.