Offers will be sent to 48 companies for 65 new oil and gas production licenses on the Norwegian continental shelf, according to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate. The offers are being issued after the authorities have evaluated applications from 50 companies in the Awards in Pre-defined Areas 2013 (APA 2013).
The greatest interest by companies was shown for the northern part of the North Sea and central part of the Norwegian Sea, NPD noted. Of the 65 production licenses, 38 are in the North Sea, 19 in the Norwegian Sea, and 8 in the Barents Sea. Seventeen of the production licenses are additional acreage to existing production licenses. Ten of the licenses are divided stratigraphically and only apply to levels below and above a defined stratigraphic boundary.
A record number of companies applied for available acreage this year.
“It is clear that the oil companies still consider it interesting to explore for oil and gas in mature areas,” said Sissel Eriksen, NPD exploration director.
She believes the interest stems from familiar geology, and notes that several of these areas have a time-critical infrastructure. Exploring the nearby areas in order to realize the resource potential is therefore urgent.
Of the companies that applied, 48 will receive offers of ownership interests in at least one production license. Twenty-nine companies will be offered operatorship. Petoro will participate as a licensee and will manage the state's direct financial interest (SDFI) in 12 production licenses.
Eleven areas require the acquisition of new seismic, and a firm well must be drilled in the southern North Sea. For the other production licenses there are “drill or drop” conditions. This means that the licensees have 1-3 years to decide whether they want to drill an exploration well. If they do not wish to drill an exploration well, the production license lapses, NPD said.
From the first APA round in 2003, the APA area has been expanded several times. APA 2013 comprised a total of 199,054 sq km, an increase of 860 sq km from APA 2012.