Photo: llustration; Credit: Morten Berentsen/NPD

Norway gets offers for offshore licences from 26 oil & gas firms amid ‘significant interest’

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has received offers for production licences from 26 companies for further exploration activity on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) as part of the Award in Pre-Defined Areas 2022 (APA 2022).

Announcing significant interest in further exploration on the Norwegian shelf, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy on Tuesday informed that applications from 26 companies were received by the application deadline of 12 September in connection with APA 2022, which was announced on 14 June 2022. The aim is to award new production licenses in the North Sea, Norwegian Sea, and the Barents Sea at the beginning of 2023.

Commenting on this, Terje Aasland, Minister of Petroleum and Energy, remarked: “We need exploration and new discoveries to maintain the production of oil and gas over time, which is important both for Norway and Europe. The applications in APA 2022 show very good interest among the companies active on the Norwegian continental shelf in exploring for new petroleum resources.”

The list of companies which applied for the offered areas includes Norske Shell, Aker BP, Chrysaor Norge, Concedo, ConocoPhillips Skandinavia, DNO Norge, Equinor, Inpex Idemitsu Norge, KUFPEC Norway, Lime Petroleum, Longboat Energy Norge, LOTOS Exploration and Production Norge, M Vest Energy, Neptune Energy Norge, OKEA, OMV (Norge), Pandion Energy, Pandion Energy Norge, Petrolia NOCO, Source Energy, PGNiG Upstream Norway, Sval Energi, TotalEnergies EP Norge, Vår Energi, Wellesley Petroleum, and Wintershall Dea Norge.

Furthermore, the Norwegian authorities explained that the APA area is being expanded as geological knowledge of areas on the Norwegian shelf increases. In line with this, the predefined area was expanded in the Barents Sea in this year’s licensing round.

Since APA 2021, the predefined areas (APA acreage) have been expanded by 28 blocks in the Barents Sea. As a reminder, blocks from the APA 2021 round were offered to 28 companies back in January 2022.

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In a separate statement, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) confirmed that APA 2022 showed a “still significant interest for exploration in mature areas,” adding that most of the companies that are active on the Norwegian shelf have submitted applications in this year’s APA. 

Kalmar Ildstad, Director of licence management in the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, stated: “It’s gratifying to note the continuing significant interest in investigating new exploration acreage, given the many awards made in the most recent APA processes.”

Moreover, the NPD outlined that it is now starting to evaluate the applications, with a focus on geological understanding and plans for exploring the areas. In addition, emphasis is also placed on the companies’ technical expertise and experience, as well as their financial strength, when production licences are awarded, according to the NPD.

Despite the NCS being one of the mature areas in regard to petroleum activity, Westwood forecasted in June 2022 that exploration activity will continue to thrive in Norway. This was confirmed by a high level of exploration activity, which the country recorded in the first half of 2022, leading to six discoveries.