Norway’s APA 2020 proves significant interest in exploration in mature areas continues

Source: press releases, 25 September 2020

Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru
Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru (photo: MPE)

The Norwegian authorities have received applications from 33 companies in the Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) 2020. The deadline for applications was 22 September. The applicants constitute a broad variety of companies, ranging from large international companies to mid-sized companies and smaller exploration companies. The total number of applications is high, and at around the level of the last few years’ large licensing rounds.

Most of the companies that are active on the Norwegian shelf have submitted applications in this year’s APA round.

“It’s gratifying to see the continued high level of interest in investigating new exploration acreage, even though there have been many awards in the last two APA rounds,” says the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate’s (NPD’s) exploration director, Torgeir Stordal.

The NPD will now start the work of evaluating the applications with focus on geological understanding and plans for exploration of the areas. When production licences are awarded, emphasis is also placed on the companies’ technical expertise and experience, as well as financial strength.

The authorities plan to announce which companies will be offered ownership interests in APA 2020 early in 2021.

“In a challenging year for the petroleum industry, I am very pleased with the interest shown by from the companies for new licenses on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS). We have received a large number of applications, and this is important in order to make discoveries that will contribute to long term value creation, employment and state revenues,” says Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru.

“Predictable and stable framework conditions and an active licensing policy are two of the main pillars in the Government’s petroleum policy. The high interest expressed by the companies in new exploration acreage shows that our long-term petroleum policy has the desired effect, also during challenging times,” Minister Bru continues.

The APA-area is expanded as knowledge about the geology in areas on the NCS increases. The predefined area was expanded in the Norwegian Sea during the preparation for this year’s licensing round. The Ministry has received interest both in the newly included areas and in the previously announced APA areas.

APA 2020 was announced June 19, 2020. The Ministry’s objective is to award new production licenses in the announced areas at the beginning of 2021.