Equinor has been announced as the biggest winner in Norway’s 24th offshore licensing round.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) unveiled the awards for 12 new licenses which have been given to 11 companies.
It includes three in the Norwegian Sea and nine in the Barents Sea.
Equinor claimed operatorship of five licenses in both areas, as well as a 30% stake in another license.
Aker BP was awarded interests in five licenses, including operatorship of two in the Barents Sea.
Spirit Energy picked up two 60% operating interests in the Barents as well as stakes in two others.
Lundin becomes operator of one in the Barents Sea with interests in two others, as well as OMV which became operator of one.
Shell claimed a 50% operating stake in a Norwegian Sea license.
Petoro, M Vest, VNG, Wintershall and DEA also were awarded interests.
NPD director of exploration Torgeir Stordal said: “I am pleased to see that we are now offering exploration acreage in the Norwegian Sea in a numbered licensing round.
“Two of the new licences are located in deep water, in the western part of the Norwegian Sea.
“It is encouraging that the industry wants to explore these frontier areas of the shelf.”
Mr Stordal also praised the interest in exploration in the eastern part of the Norwegian Sea, which covers Shell’s license with VNG and Petoro, as well as the undiscovered potential in the Barents Sea.
He added: “If discoveries are made, this area can contribute important additional resources to the existing infrastructure”.
“Our analyses show that the largest undiscovered resource potential on the Norwegian Continental Shelf is in the Barents Sea. We also believe that this is the area on the Shelf most likely to deliver large discoveries.”