APA 2019: New high award secures further exploration of the Norwegian Continental Shelf

Source: press releases, 14 January 2020

2019 Awards in Predefined Areas offered blocks
2019 Awards in Predefined Areas offered blocks (illustration: NPD)

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy is offering 69 production licenses on the Norwegian continental shelf in the Award in Pre-Defined Areas 2019 (APA 2019).

“I am proud to offer 69 new production licenses in this year’s APA round. The companies show great interest in further access to new exploration acreage. This means that the industry believes in future value creation on the Norwegian continental shelf,” says Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Sylvi Listhaug.

The 69 production licenses are located in the North Sea (33), the Norwegian Sea (23) and the Barents Sea (13). A total of 28 different oil companies, ranging from the large international majors to smaller domestic exploration companies, are offered ownership interests in one or more production licenses. Of these, 19 will be offered operatorships. The licenses are awarded with work-programme commitments or as additional areas to such licenses.

“Hopefully, the exploration in the awarded acreage will result in new discoveries. This is important to ensure employment, value-creation and future government revenue for Norway’s largest industry,” says Listhaug.

The APA licensing rounds cover the most explored areas on the Norwegian shelf. One of the primary challenges in mature areas is the expected decline in discovery size.

“The 2019 awards with new licences from the southern North Sea to the Barents Sea demonstrate the companies’ continued interest in the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Production licences are being offered both in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea which will require new seismic data and use of new technology to evaluate the resource potential. It will be exciting to watch how this develops in the coming years,” says Torgeir Stordal, head of exploration at the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD).

The 2019 awards have been offered to a broad spectrum of players, with a good mix of small and medium-sized companies, as well as major international players.

“It is encouraging that companies show willingness to test new exploration concepts. Many are also focusing on proving resources near existing infrastructure. This combination is important for continued value creation on the Norwegian Shelf,” adds Stordal.

Smaller discoveries may not be able to carry standalone developments but can have good profitability when making use of existing and planned infrastructure. It can also be seen in context with other discoveries or planned developments. Timely discovery and exploitation of such resources is therefore important.