The province's offshore oil industry association says the results of the latest call for bids for exploration rights show that international companies are very interested in this region.

Thursday's announcement that companies have committed to spend $1.2 billion on exploration over the next number of years is "good news for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and for the continued growth of the oil and gas industry in the province," according to NOIA president Bob Cadigan.

Cadigan noted that the results were the largest value of bids the province has ever received in an offshore land sale.

There were 11 parcels in total up for grabs, totaling 2.5 million hectares, in a horseshoe-shaped area around existing exploration licences in the deepwater Flemish Pass basin.

Bids were submitted and accepted for seven of the parcels.

"It's going to buoy our members. Certainly create some employment. And hopefully we'll see some our next developments come out of these exploration parcels." - NOIA president Bob Cadigan

​Cadigan says plans were already in the works for three or four wells, and the new exploration will be a boost.

"So we've got six years ahead of us now where we can have six to 10, and that's a lot of activity," Cadigan said.

"It's going to buoy our members. Certainly create some employment. And hopefully we'll see some our next developments come out of these exploration parcels."

Cadigan says he's encouraged to see newer entrants to the region, such as Nexen Energy ULC.

Nexen, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China's state-controlled CNOOC Limited, bid $261 million for a 100 per cent interest in a 163,008-hectare parcel.