Norway plans to add 90 new blocks for offshore exploration, 48 in Barents Sea

Norway has proposed to add 90 new blocks across the Norwegian Continental Shelf in mature areas, 48 of these being in the Barents Sea.

Var Energi's Goliat FPSO / Image source: Var Energi
Var Energi’s Goliat FPSO / Image source: Var Energi

Minister of Petroleum and Energy Kjell-Borge Freiberg said on Thursday: “We propose to add 90 new blocks to the [Awards in Predefined Areas] APA area, this time in all our sea areas. More than half of the proposed blocks are in the Barents Sea. The Government proposes an extension of 48 blocks in the Barents Sea, 37 blocks in the Norwegian Sea and 5 blocks in the North Sea.

Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) is the annual licensing round for the best know areas on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, and includes large parts of all available exploration acreage.

“Maintaining the positive development in exploration activity in the Barents Sea is important. I hope this will contribute to robust development solutions and to increased value creation in the North,” the minister said.

The proposed extension of the APA area includes areas that are close to planned and existing infrastructure, and which are well known after several years of exploration activity.

Norway currently has only one producing field in the Barents Sea – Var Energi’s Goliat, with Equinor’s Johan Castberg field expected to be the second in 2022.

Also, Austrian oil company OMV has recently boosted estimated recoverable volumes in the company’s Wisting discovery in the Barents Sea offshore Norway, to  440 million barrels of oil compared to 350 million barrels in 2017.

The company, which is looking at an FPSO development for the Wisting, expects to have the final concept in 2020.

To remind, Norway in January offered 83 production licenses on the Norwegian continental shelf in the Award in Pre-Defined Areas 2018 (APA 2018). Of the 83 blocks offered, Equinor won 29.

The 83 production licenses were distributed over the North Sea (37), the Norwegian Sea (32) and the Barents Sea (14).

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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