Interest in Norwegian offshore acreage dips as 33 oil firms apply

Thirty-three oil companies have applied for exploration acreage offshore Norway as part of this year’s licensing round, the APA 2016, comprising the predefined areas with blocks in the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea, and the Barents Sea. 

This year’s oil and gas exploration licensing round, expanded by 24 blocks in the Norwegian Sea and 32 blocks in the Barents Sea, was launched in March.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), a government agency whose task is to manage the oil and gas resources on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, said on Wednesday that, following the expiration of the application deadline on September 6, 2016, the authorities had received applications from 33 companies.

In this licensing round, companies could apply for a total of 139 942 square kilometers, while the available area in APA 2015 was 127 608 square kilometers. The number of applicants for APA 2016 is somewhat lower than for APA 2015 when 43 companies had applied. Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy concluded that this can mainly be attributed to consolidation and structural changes in the industry.

“It is very positive that so many companies still believe that more oil and gas can be discovered on the most mature parts of the shelf. We have received many exciting applications,” says Sissel Eriksen, exploration director at the NPD.

The companies have applied for acreage on the whole shelf, but they are most interested in the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea, the agency said.

“The APA scheme is important for maintaining the activity level and realizing the values on the shelf. The application volume has remained consistently high in recent years, and this demonstrates that the companies also prioritize exploration in mature areas during times with challenging cost and price regimes.”

The agency said it will now start with the technical evaluation of the applications and it will also evaluate the applicants’ geological concepts and strategy for exploring the areas.

Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tord Lien, said: “Predictable access to attractive acreage is among the most important measures the Government can contribute with in order to maintain employment as well as a high, long-term level of activity in the industry. I take note of the fact that there is great interest in all areas on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.” 

The companies that have applied:

A/S Norske Shell

BP Norge AS

Capricorn Norge AS

Centrica Resources (Norge) AS

Concedo ASA

ConocoPhillips Skandinavia AS

DEA Norge AS

Det norske oljeselskap ASA

Edison Norge AS


Eni Norge AS

Faroe Petroleum Norge AS

Fortis Petroleum Norway AS

Grail North Sea Ltd

Idemitsu Petroleum Norge AS

Lotos Exploration & Production Norge AS

Lundin Norway AS

M Vest Energy AS

MOL Norge AS

North E&P AS

OMV (Norge) AS

Origo Exploration Norway AS

Petrolia NOCO AS

PGNiG Upstream International AS

Point Resources AS

Repsol Norge AS

Skagen 44 AS

Statoil Petroleum AS

Suncor Energy Norge AS

Total E&P Norge AS

VNG  Norge AS

Wellesley Petroleum AS

Wintershall Norge AS

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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