Brent Crude futures down after Iceland awards oil exploration licences

<p>Oil futures have lost ground after Iceland awarded new oil and gas exploration licences.</p>

Brent Crude Oil Futures have lost ground in commodities trading this morning (January 7th), after Iceland awarded oil and gas exploration and production licenses to two companies.

The permits have been given to Faroe Petroleum and Valiant Petroleum, while Norway has taken a 25 per cent stake in both via state-governed oil firm Petoro.

Iceland is hoping it will be able to make revenues from any discoveries of the fuels, particularly as experts have predicted the Arctic will be the next major oil-producing region.

The nation's minister of industries and innovation Steingrimur Sigfusson was quoted by the BBC as saying: "This is of course an important step, [as] these are the first real licences that we believe will be used and they call for extensive research in the area."

At 10:45 GMT, Brent Crude Oil Futures on the ICE Futures Europe Index dropped by 0.2 per cent to $111.06 per barrel.

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