Eleven oil firms apply for production licenses off Norway

Eleven oil and gas companies have applied for production licenses in the 24th licensing round on the Norwegian shelf.

A total of 102 blocks or parts of blocks were announced in this licensing round. Of these, nine are in the Norwegian Sea and 93 in the Barents Sea.

Torgeir Stordal, exploration director in the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said: “The oil companies nominated many areas in this round, and the authorities have listened and responded with an extensive announcement. We have received applications in both the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea.”

Most applications received are for the Barents Sea, and the companies are particularly interested in the announced acreage in the northwestern part of the region, NPD said.

“In this round, the announced blocks are mostly in frontier areas. We see that the list of applicants is dominated by large and medium-sized companies with good technical and financial capacity to conduct exploration in such areas,” Stordal said.

For comparison, twenty-six companies applied for production licenses in the 23rd licensing round.

No new acreage was opened in the 24th licensing round, as was the case prior to the 23rd round. At the same time, the predefined area (APA) was expanded earlier this year, and there was substantial interest in APA 2017, with 39 companies delivering a record-breaking number of applications. The applicant landscape could indicate that some parties are prioritizing exploration in mature areas this time around.

The companies that have applied for production licenses, either alone or in groups are: Shell, Aker BP, Centrica, DEA, Idemitsu Petroleum, Kufpec, Lundin Petroleum, OMV, RN Nordic, Statoil, and Wintershall.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy aims to award new production licenses in the 24th licensing round before the summer of 2018.

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