The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) has announced more than 30 firms have been awarded ownership in its “largest ever” licensing round.
A total of 83 production licences have been offered for ownership to 33 firms, including Neptune Energy, Equinor, Aker BP and Faroe Petroleum.
Of the more than 80 licences, 37 are in the North Sea, 32 in the Norwegian Sea and 14 in the Barents Sea.
Eighteen of the licences are additional acreage to existing production licences.
The NPD said 21 of the firms will be offered operatorship.
The authorities have awarded acreage in the expanded APA area, both in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea.
Torgeir Stordal, exploration director for the NPD, said: “The number of awards shows that the companies believe that more resources remain to be found in areas with known geology and near existing infrastructure.
“It is important that these resources are discovered while we still have infrastructure such as platforms and pipelines nearby – then even small discoveries can be developed profitably.
“One reason why the companies still find it attractive to explore in mature areas could be that large parts of the Shelf are now covered by new and improved seismic data, which together with new technology enable the companies to identify new exploration targets.”
Shell, ConocoPhillips, Ineos, Repsol, Spirit Energy and Total were also successful in the licence award round.
Equinor won 29 of the total number of licences.
Nick Ashton, senior vice president for exploration in Norway and the UK for Equinor, said: “Equinor is committed to a high exploration activity on all parts of the NCS. These awards fit with our strategy to maximise value creation through existing infrastructure and test new ideas that could create growth options.
“In line with our NCS roadmap, we have an increased focus on gas opportunities and that has also been reflected in our application and today’s awards.”