Lundin Petroleum said Wednesday that exploratory drilling it conducted at the Hurri prospect in the Barents Sea, northwest of Hammerfest, yielded no results.

"Extensive data acquisition and sampling were carried out," Lundin said. The Swedish oil company's Norwegian subsidiary is operator of the license, in partnership with Aker BP and DEA Norge.

The Hurri exploration well is located south of Statoil's Johan Castberg field, estimated to hold 450 – 650 million barrels of oil equivalents. In December, Statoil announced a €5 billion investment plan on the development of Johan Castberg, Norway's northernmost oil discovery in the Barents Sea.

2017, however, turned out to be a big disappointment for oil industry exploration in Norway's Arctic offshore waters.

All five prospects drilled by Statoil in the Barents Sea failed to prove oil. Eni's Goliat platform, the only operating oil production north of mainland Norway, was shut down for longer periods during the year due to safety concerns. And Lundin closed the 2017 drilling calendar with zero findings.

Fewer findings than expected, and stable low oil prices, didn't trigger increased interest among oil companies to boost Arctic exploration. In December, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy released its list of bidders for the next 24th license round, showing the number of companies that want to drill in new Barents Sea acreage is now dwindling.

While 26 companies submitted bids for the 57 blocks in the 23rd round, only 11 companies want to take part in the 24th round.