FAROE Petroleum has cemented its position as a leading explorer in the seas around Norway by securing 10 more licences, including two operatorships, in the latest bidding round.

Aberdeen-based Faroe already has interests in the producing Njord, Brage and Ringhorne East fields in Norway.

Graham Stewart, chief executive of Faroe Petroleum, said: "We are delighted with these licence awards, which add considerable new potential to our forward drilling programme."

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He noted that the award is Faroe's largest to date and the company was as successful as the likes of large domestic player Statoil and Scottish Gas owner Centrica.

"This demonstrates the strength of our reputation in Norway further positions us as having one of the largest licence portfolios on the Norwegian Continental Shelf," he said.

Investors reacted positively sending its shares up 1.48p or 1.20% to 124.48p.

Faroe, which is quoted on the junior Alternative Investment Market, secured one licence in the northern North Sea where there is already established production infrastructure in the nearby Brage Field.

It secured a 50% interest in two blocks on the Brasse Prospect alongside Norway's Core Energy.

In the North Sea Faroe has secured three more licences.

These include access to mature prospects such as a 25% interest in a block on the Betula extension.

Faroe has also taken a licence in the immature exploration area east of the giant Ormen Lange field in the North Sea. It has a 20% stake alongside operator Centrica, Germany's VNG and Norwegian state-owned Petoro in two blocks of the Seychelles and Maldives prospects.

The company has also been awarded four new licences in the Halten Terrace hydrocarbon province of the Norwegian Sea.

Mr Stewart added: "Faroe Petroleum has built a strong and sustainable exploration company, with Norway at centre stage.

"Our significant Norwegian portfolio has a diversified mix of both near-field and frontier opportunities."

Panmure Gordon analyst Jack Allardyce said: "We believe that this further highlights the company's strong position in the country and enables it to continue generating new prospects for drilling in the longer term."

In a separate update, London-based Trap Oil said that it is "well prepared" for the next UK licensing round.

After spending £17.6  million for a 15% interest in the Athena field in the outer Moray Firth, the company reported that the field is producing 7000 barrels of oil a day. However the P4 well in the field has been shut after problems with pumping equipment.