The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has offered 60 production licences in Norway’s “Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) 2011 Round”.
The 60 licences are split between the North Sea (34), the Norwegian Sea (22), and the Barents Sea (four).
A total of 43 companies applied for production licences in the APA 2011 Round.
Statoil was offered eight operatorships; while Total was offered five; Lundin, E.On Ruhrgas, VNG, and Wintershall four each; Det Norske Oljeselskap and Faroe Petroleum three each; Maersk Oil, GDF Suez, OMV, Suncor, and Talisman Energy, two each; and 13 companies were offered single operatorships.
The APA licensing rounds cover mature areas of the Norwegian Continental Shelf, areas that are the most explored and have a known geology.
Their main challenge is that the expected sizes of discoveries are shrinking. Small discoveries often do not justify a stand-alone development, but can be profitable with a tie-in, the ministry said, adding that it is therefore important to discover and develop resources in these areas before existing infrastructure is shut down, rather like the UK.
Energy minister Ola Borten Moe said of the latest awards: “APA 2011 is the most extensive licensing round ever undertaken on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, in terms of both the number of companies and the number of production licences awarded.
“The new production licences are widely scattered within the announced sea areas. The variety of areas of interest for exploration illustrates the varying views of the companies. The government extended the APA area by 23,500sq km in 2011, and I am very pleased to be able to offer new production licences in these areas.”