Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has offered 56 exploration licenses on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) in its latest licencing round.
The Awards in Pre-defined Areas 2015 (APA 2015) licensing round opened in April 2015 and a deadline for application was September 2, 2015.
The offers are being issued following the authorities’ assessment of applications from 43 companies in APA) 2015.
Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tord Lien, said: “Access to prospective exploration acreage is a central element in the Government’s policies and vital for the long-term activity on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. It is a very positive sign that the oil companies show such high interest in our most well-known areas, this enables me to offer awards in 56 exploration licenses.
“This year’s APA round is among the largest ever awarded on the NCS. It will contribute to activity both in the oil companies and in the supply industry as exploration progresses, wells are drilled and discoveries are made.”
Of the 56 production licences, 27 are in the North Sea, 24 in the Norwegian Sea and five in the Barents Sea. Fourteen of the production licences are additional acreage for existing production licences. Five of the new licences are divided stratigraphically and apply only to levels below/above a defined stratigraphic boundary.
Of the companies that applied, 37 will be offered ownership interests in at least one production licence. Petoro will participate as a licensee and will manage the State’s Direct Financial Interest (SDFI) in thirteen production licences.
“The number of applications has remained fairly constant in recent years. We are pleased that the oil companies still see the potential in the Norwegian shelf and are investing heavily in mature areas,” says Sissel Eriksen, director of exploration in the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD).
“Interest has been particularly great in the Norwegian Sea. The companies’ applications show consistent high quality, and some have submitted very interesting exploration concepts. Most of the companies will be rewarded for their hard work through awards in APA 2015.”
According to the agency, the offers are subject to obligations stipulated by the authorities. There is a requirement for acquisition of new seismic in four areas, and two firm wells must be drilled. For the other production licences there are “drill or drop” conditions. This means that the licensees have between one and three years to decide whether they want to drill an exploration well. If they do not wish to drill an exploration well, the production licence lapses, the petroleum directorate concluded.
The biggest winner was the Norwegian oil and gas major Statoil with 24 licences offered, including 13 operatorships.
The following companies received the offers (number of shares, including operatorships, in brackets):
Core Energy (5)
Det norske oljeselskap (10)
GdF SUEZ (1)
Premier Oil (1)