Norway opens doors to more exploration in predefined areas with new oil & gas licencing round
Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has launched the Award in Pre-Defined Areas 2023 (APA 2023) round for further exploration activity, encompassing the predefined areas on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) with blocks in the North Sea, Norwegian Sea, and the Barents Sea.
Thanks to the annual rounds of awards in predefined areas, the oil and gas companies are given the opportunity to gain access to exploration acreage in the mature areas on the Norwegian continental shelf. After more than 50 years of exploration activities, the APA scheme covers the majority of the area that has been opened and is available on the NCS.
The proposal to announce APA 2023, which includes additional blocks in the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea, was sent for public consultation in January 2023 and the deadline for the consultation expired on 7 March 2023. The deadline to apply for APA 2023 is Wednesday, 23 August 2023, and awards are expected during the first quarter of 2024.
Terje Aasland, Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, commented: “Annual allocation of exploration area is part of the good, predictable and stable framework conditions we have in Norway. We are thus also facilitating further activity and value creation in Northern Norway.”
Furthermore, the APA area has been expanded by further 92 blocks in this round, including 78 blocks in the Barents Sea and 14 blocks in the Norwegian Sea. This expansion is expected to bring better arrangements for profitable investments, employment and future production.
“I now have a clear expectation that the most central companies in the Barents Sea are aware of their social responsibility. We need to find more gas in the Barents Sea to put new infrastructure in place,” added Aasland.
“Further exploration is important to ensure that Norway remains a safe and predictable supplier of oil and gas to Europe. This is particularly important in today’s security policy situation,” concluded Aasland.