Photo: Illustration; Image by SP Mac

Norway launches APA 2020 offshore licensing round

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy announced the APA 2020 licensing round on Friday, comprising the predefined areas with blocks in the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea, and the Barents Sea.

The Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) round is one of two equal licensing rounds on the Norwegian continental shelf and takes place annually.

It was introduced back in 2003 to facilitate exploration in geologically mature parts of the Shelf.

Exploration in those areas mainly focuses on smaller discoveries that would not justify an independent development but can be profitable if developed in conjunction with other discoveries or utilising existing infrastructure.

The Norwegian oil and gas industry is the country’s largest and most important industry for value creation, government revenues, exports, and investments.

To maintain long term activity, the country depends on continued exploration. According to the Ministry, new discoveries in mature areas are important for achieving good capacity utilization in production and transport facilities and for good management of time-critical resources.

APA 2020

Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tina Bru said: “The Norwegian Government pursues a long-term, predictable petroleum policy. New discoveries are a prerequisite for long-term employment, value creation and government revenues. Regular licensing rounds on the Norwegian Continental Shelf are therefore a key element in our policy.

APA 2020 has extended its predefined area by 36 blocks west of the Norwegian Sea. The extension proposal was announced in late March and was subject to public consultation. No expansion was proposed for the North Sea or Barents Sea.

Norwegian APA 2020 map; Source: NPD
APA 2020 map; Source: NPD (For a larger map click here)

The launch date of the licensing round is Friday, 19 June 2020, while the deadline for applications is set for Tuesday, 22 September 2020.

Following the completion of the application process, the aim is to grant new production licenses in the announced areas in early 2021.

The APA rounds include large parts of the open, accessible part of the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Even after decades of activity, there are still opportunities in these areas.

Due to new technology and a multitude of new players, I believe we will see new discoveries in the areas available in this year’s APA round”, Bru added.

It is worth noting that applications can be submitted for all available blocks or parts of blocks within the predefined areas. Blocks or parts of blocks that become available less than three months before the application deadline, cannot be applied for.

Previous licensing round

At the beginning of the year, 28 companies have been offered ownership interests in a total of 69 production licences in the APA 2019.

Of the 69 production licences offered, 33 are in the North Sea, 23 in the Norwegian Sea, and 13 in the Barents Sea. The licenses are awarded with work-program commitments or as additional areas to such licenses.

To remind, licences were offered to Aker BP, Shell, Capricorn, Chrysaor, Concedo, ConocoPhillips, DNO, Edison, Equinor, Idemitsu, INEOS, Lime, Lotos, Lundin, Neptune, OKEA, OMV, ONE-Dyas, Pandion, PGNiG, Repsol, Source, Spirit, Suncor, Total, Vår Energi, Wellesley, and Wintershall Dea.

Header photo by: SP Mac (used under permission by photographer)