Illustration; Credit: Morten Berentsen/NOD

More ‘attractive’ offshore oil & gas acreage up for grabs in Norway’s new licensing round

Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has set in motion the award in pre-defined areas 2024 (APA 2024) round for further hydrocarbon exploration activity, encompassing the predefined areas on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) with blocks in the North Sea, Norwegian Sea, and the Barents Sea.

Illustration; Credit: Morten Berentsen/NOD

According to the Norwegian Ministry of Energy, the APA 2024 licensing round, which will be expanded by a total of 37 bocks in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea, presents oil companies with an opportunity to get a hold of “attractive” acreage in the mature areas of the Norwegian shelf.

While three of the additional blocks are in the northwest of the Norwegian Sea, 34 blocks are in the east of the Barents Sea. The deadline to apply for APA 2024 is Tuesday, September 3, 2024, and awards are expected during the first quarter of 2025.

Terje Aasland, Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, commented: “We need further exploration to make new discoveries that in turn pave the way for investments to maintain production.

“This is important to safeguard jobs, income for the community and Europe’s energy security. Access to new, attractive acreage through the APA system is a pillar of the government’s petroleum policy.”

Norway’s oil and gas industry is perceived to be the country’s largest and most important industry in terms of value creation, government revenues, exports, and investments. The Norwegian Ministry of Energy claims that discoveries in mature areas are needed for good capacity utilization in production and transport facilities and management of time-critical resources.

In a bid to maintain activity in the long term, the Norwegian authorities believe that continuity in exploration activity is important, as this enables the search for hydrocarbon discoveries that can be developed to help keep energy activity and production ongoing.

The maps show licensed acreage within the APA boundaries as of May 8, 2024, but these areas can change during the application period; Courtesy of the Norwegian Offshore Directorate

Furthermore, APA 2024 contains acreage with known plays and exploration history, including previous exploration wells, relinquished acreage, and acreage geographically located between awarded and relinquished acreage along with acreage bordering on existing predefined acreage.

As part of the previous round, Norway offered 62 production licenses in APA 2023 to 24 oil and gas companies for further exploration activity on the NCS. The Norwegian Offshore Directorate (NOD) previously pointed out that it would like to see companies actively explore more frontier areas to realize more of the resource potential.