High interest in continued exploration activity on the Norwegian Continental Shelf

Source: press releases, 19 January 2021

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

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy is offering 61 production licenses on the Norwegian continental shelf in the Award in Pre-Defined Areas 2020 (APA 2020).

“I am pleased to offer 61 new production licenses in this year’s APA round to a diverse range of companies. 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,” says Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru.

The 61 production licenses are located in the North Sea (34), the Norwegian Sea (24) and the Barents Sea (3). 30 different oil companies, ranging from the large international companies to smaller domestic exploration companies, are offered ownership interests in one or more production licenses. Of these, 18 companies will be offered one or more operatorships. The licenses are awarded with work-programme commitments or as additional areas to such licenses.

“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. I now eagerly await the commencement of activity and the resulting discoveries,” Bru continues.

“This year’s award of 61 new production licences to as many as 30 companies shows that the petroleum industry still has significant expectations of making profitable discoveries on the Norwegian Shelf,” says director licence management in the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), Kalmar Ildstad.

“It’s positive that the companies are showing significant interest in exploring in areas with known geology, and close to existing infrastructure,” says Ildstad.

The player landscape in this APA award is very diverse. Both small companies and major international players are being offered exploration acreage.

The first licensing round on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) took place in 1965. The activity started in the North Sea, and exploration in the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea started around 15 years later. Thus, Norway now has more than 40 years of experience with petroleum activity in all sea-areas on the NCS.

The Petroleum industry is Norway’s largest sector in terms of value-creation, state revenue, investment and export-value. The industry has a significant share of national employment, directly or indirectly, and contributes to activity across the country. The industry also stimulates positive business, technology and societal development in Norway.

Offer of licenses to 30 licensees (Number of licenses /operatorships):
Aker BP (10/8)
AS Norske Shell (1/1)
Chrysaor (6/3)
Concedo (1/0)
ConocoPhillips (4/3)
DNO (10/4)
Edison (2/0)
Equinor (17/10)
INEOS (4/1)
Inpex (2/1)
Kufpec (1/0)
Lime (4/0)
Lotos (3/0)
Lundin (19/7)
MOL (1/1)
M Vest (2/0)
Neptune (6/3)
OKEA (6/4)
OMV (3/3)
One Dyas (6/0)
Pandion (5/0)
Petrolia NOCO (3/1)
PGNiG (4/0)
Source (4/0)
Spirit (3/0)
Sval (5/1)
Total (3/0)
Vår Energi (10/5)
Wellesley (2/1)
Wintershall DEA (16/4)