Norway nominates 102 offshore blocks with spotlight on Barents Sea

After the Norwegian government invited oil companies to nominate blocks for the 24th licensing round in August last year, it has now proposed a total of 102 nominated blocks for public consultation.

The Norwegian government said on Monday that 93 blocks are in the Barents Sea while the remaining nine blocks are in the Norwegian Sea.

Before the end of the nomination period on November 30, 2016, Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy received nominations from 22 companies.

When the call for nominations was announced, the government said that the Barents Sea would be extensively explored over the next few years in licenses already awarded. Thus, the principle of stepwise exploration will also apply to the 24th licensing round.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy was also accepting nominations in the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea. As for the Norwegian Sea, the 24th round will be laying the foundation for efficient utilization of the existing transport system which will have considerable spare capacity after 2020.

The government’s strategy for licensing rounds in newly opened and frontier areas has mainly adhered to the principle of sequential exploration. This entails that results of wells in certain blocks in a given area should be available and evaluated before new blocks are announced in the same area.

This approach ensures that large areas can be mapped with relatively few exploration wells. In this manner, available information is used for further exploration, while drilling of unnecessary, dry wells can be avoided.

All comments regarding the nominated blocks must be submitted to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy before Tuesday, May 2, 2017. The announcement of the 24th licensing round is expected before the beginning of summer 2017.