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Norway has awarded 61 offshore exploration licenses to 30 companies in the latest annual licensing round for oil and gas exploration in mature areas on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy said on Tuesday.
The so-called Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) are announced every year and comprise the mature parts of the shelf with known geology and good infrastructure already in place, allowing tie-backs to existing infrastructure for any new discoveries.
The awards announced today include 34 production licenses in the North Sea, 24 licenses in the Norwegian Sea, and three licenses in the Barents Sea.
“Even after decades of activity, there are still opportunities in these areas. Due to new technology and a multitude of new players, I believe we will see new discoveries in the areas available in this year’s APA round,” Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru, said in June last year when the APA licensing round was launched.
Commenting on the awarding of the 61 licenses on Tuesday, Bru said “These companies have shown great interest in gaining access to new exploration acreage, illustrating the industry’s confidence in continued profitability from exploration on the Norwegian continental shelf. This is good news for the Norwegian state as resource owner.”
“This year’s award of 61 new production licences to as many as 30 companies shows that the petroleum industry still has significant expectations of making profitable discoveries on the Norwegian Shelf,” said Kalmar Ildstad, director license management at the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.
“It’s positive that the companies are showing significant interest in exploring in areas with known geology, and close to existing infrastructure,” Ildstad added.
Equinor, Lundin, Aker BP, and Vår Energi were awarded the highest number of licenses either as operators or partners.
“Due to their location, these resources can often be realised with high profitability and create considerable value for society, and they can be produced with a low carbon footprint per barrel,” said Equinor, which was awarded a total of 17 licenses, 10 as operator and 7 as partner.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com