Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has offered Norske Shell, Equinor, Idemitsu Petroleum Norway, INEOS E&P Norway, Lundin, OMV (Norway) and Vår Energi four production licenses in the 25th licensing round. One is located in the Norwegian Sea and three in the Barents Sea.
“The 25th licensing round and the annual APA rounds facilitate exploration and activity on the Norwegian shelf. This is important for employment and value creation in the Norwegian oil and gas industry. The allocations are in line with the goals we presented in the White Paper Energy for Work. They are also an important part of the framework conditions for the companies on the Norwegian shelf,” says Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru.
The 25th licensing round was announced on November 19, 2020. The application deadline was February 23, 2021. Companies could apply for licenses in nine different areas; eight in the Barents Sea and one in the Norwegian Sea. After the application deadline, the authorities assessed the applications and negotiated with the relevant companies about possible areas and a binding work program.
Areas that are open and accessible for petroleum activities can be announced in licensing rounds. The framework for conducting licensing rounds is the same for numbered rounds and APA rounds (Awards in predefined Areas). The majority of available area is covered by the APA rounds. These rounds include area in the best-known exploration areas and take place annually.
As exploration activity has been going on for several decades, the best-known exploration areas now include most of the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and a large part of the southern Barents Sea. Knowledge of the geology in such areas is more limited, and the uncertainty associated with making discoveries is typically greater than in more mature areas on the shelf.
The following companies were offered shares (shares/operatorship):
- A/S Norske Shell (1/0)
- Equinor Energy AS (2/2)
- Idemitsu Petroleum Norge AS (1/0)
- INEOS E&P Norge AS (1/1)
- Lundin Energy Norway AS (2/0)
- OMV (Norway) AS (1/0)
- Vår Energi AS (1/1)
“We are pleased with the award. A steady access to acreage contributes positively to the development of the Norwegian Continental Shelf. This award brings opportunities for exploring volumes near planned infrastructure. We prioritise exploring for resources that meet our requirements both for profitability and reduced carbon emissions,” says Jez Averty senior vice president for subsurface in Equinor.