Norway to award 75 offshore blocks to 34 firms

Norway is set to award 75 new production licenses in the North Sea, Norwegian Sea, and the Barents Sea to 34 companies.

“Never before have this many production licenses been awarded in an APA round (Awards in Pre-defined Areas), and never before have this many applications been submitted,” the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said on Tuesday.

“It is with great pleasure I can announce that we offer awards in 75 new production licenses in this year’s APA-round. The number of licenses is the highest ever awarded in a licensing round on the Norwegian continental shelf. Access to new, prospective exploration acreage is a central pillar in the Government’s petroleum policy,” says Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Terje Søviknes (Progress Party).

New licenses are being awarded in the expanded APA area in both the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea.

Of the 75 production licenses, 45 are in the North Sea, 22 in the Norwegian Sea and 8 in the Barents Sea. Twenty-two of the production licenses are additional acreage for existing production licenses. Three of the new licenses are divided stratigraphically and only relate to levels below/above a defined stratigraphic border.

“It is positive that the companies are showing so much interest in exploring in the mature areas on the Norwegian shelf, where it is still possible to exploit existing infrastructure. It is also positive that the companies have shown interest in the expanded APA area in both the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea,” says Wenche Tjelta Johansen, the assistant director responsible for exploration in the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.

“We see that the companies have identified new plays based on new seismic, and new technology. That is exciting,” says Johansen.

“There is great diversity in the player landscape in this year’s APA awards, ranging from small to major international companies,” the NPD said.

Of the 39 companies that  submitted applications, 34 will be offered ownership interests in at least one production license.

17 operatorships for Statoil

Statoil has been offered the largest number of operatorships – 17. The company has been offered interests in 31 exploration licences on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS), 17 of these as operator, and 14 as a partner.

Jez Averty, Statoil’s senior vice president for exploration in Norway and the UK said: “The NCS is the core of Statoil’s business, and we are pleased with the awards in the 2017 APA round. Licenses awarded through the APA-rounds give access to acreage that can provide important resources. We saw that in 2017 when we made a significant discovery in the Norwegian Sea – Cape Vulture – in a license awarded in the APA 2015 one year before we made the discovery. The APA-rounds are important to maintaining the exploration activity on the NCS. New discoveries are needed in order to offset the declining production on existing fields on the NCS.”

For Statoil, the offer this year includes three commitment wells. Two of these wells are in the North Sea and one in the Norwegian Sea.

In license PL921 Statoil will through drilling the Gladsheim prospect test if oil could have moved eastward from the Troll area. In PL942 in the Norwegian Sea, Statoil is aiming through drilling of the Ørn prospect to discover new resources that can be produced through the Norne installation. Statoil is also participating in the drilling a well in the PL916 at the Utsira High operated by AkerBP.

“Over the past two years we have replenished our portfolio with a number of interesting prospects. This enables us to maintain and increase the exploration efforts. We will this year drill or participatin in between 25-30 exploration wells on the NCS. This is an increase from the 19 we operated or participated in in 2017,” Averty says.

Offer to 34 licensees

(number of shares (including operatorships) in brackets)

A/S Norske Shell (4)
Aker BP  (23)
Capricorn  (4)
Concedo  (5)
ConocoPhillips (7)
DEA  (5)
DNO  (10)
ENGIE  (4)
Eni  (4)
ExxonMobil  (2)
Faroe  (8)
Idemitsu  (1)
INEOS  (1)
INPEX  (1)
Lime  (1)
LOTOS  (2)
Lundin  (14)
Maersk  (3)
MOL  (3)
OKEA  (2)
OMV  (5)
Pandion  (2)
Petrolia  (4)
PGNiG  (2)
Point  (10)
Repsol  (3)
Skagen44  (1)
Spirit  (11)
Statoil  (31)
Suncor  (5)
Total  (3)
VNG  (8)
Wellesley  (7)
Wintershall  (6)

Here you can the list of the companies that have been offered the blocks, along with work obligations for each block. (PDF)

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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