Photo: Illustration. Source: Equinor

Norway offers 61 offshore licences to 30 companies

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has offered 61 production licences on the Norwegian continental shelf in the Award in Pre-Defined Areas 2020 (APA 2020) to 30 companies.

APA 2020 map
APA 2020 map; Source: The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy

The APA 2020 was launched on 19 June 2020 and the awards were announced on Tuesday, 19 January 2021.

Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru, said: “These companies have shown great interest in gaining access to new exploration acreage, illustrating the industry’s confidence in continued profitability from exploration on the Norwegian continental shelf. This is good news for the Norwegian state as resource owner”.

Of the 61 production licences, 34 are in the North Sea, 24 are in the Norwegian Sea, and 3 are in the Barents Sea. 12 of the production licences are additional acreage to existing production licences.

According to the ministry, 30 different oil companies, ranging from the large international companies to smaller domestic exploration companies, are offered ownership interests in one or more production licences.

Of these, 18 companies will be offered one or more operatorships. The licences are awarded with work-programme commitments or as additional areas to such licences.

Lundin Energy has been awarded a total of 19 exploration licence interests, 15 licences in the North Sea, two licences in the Norwegian Sea, and two licences in the Southern Barents Sea.

Seven of the newly awarded licences will be operated by Lundin Energy.

Norway’s state-owned Equinor has been awarded 17 new production licences – 10 as operator and 7 licences as a partner.

Wintershall Dea has been awarded interest in 16 exploration licences in Norway, including four as the operator.

Furthermore, Vår Energi has been awarded 10 new licences, 5 as the operator, and Neptune Energy has been awarded 6 licences, 3 as the operator.

In addition, DNO Norge and Aker BP have each been awarded 10 licences with DNO getting operatorship over 4 and Aker BP over 8 licences. OKEA won 6 new production licences, of which it will operate 4.

Bru added: “The licensing rounds constitute a basic pillar in our petroleum policy. The APA-rounds now include the majority of available exploration acreage on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS).

“Exploration providing additional discoveries is vital in order to maintain a high level of activity, employment and revenue over time from Norway’s largest industry. I am impressed by how the industry has dealt with the challenges of 2020, also when it comes to the applications for new acreage”.