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Norway Awards 69 Oil Blocks To 28 Firms To Explore Mature Areas

Norway awarded on Tuesday 69 new production licenses to 28 companies to explore in areas next to mature developed production areas, securing further exploration on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy said.  

“The companies show great interest in further access to new exploration acreage. This means that the industry believes in future value creation on the Norwegian continental shelf,” Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy Sylvi Listhaug said in a statement.

A total of 33 oil companies had applied for licenses in Norway’s 2019 licensing round for exploration and development in the most mature areas of the shelf by the deadline.

Today, Norway awarded 33 licenses in the North Sea, 23 licenses in the Norwegian Sea, and 13 licenses in the Barents Sea.

The total number of awarded licenses this year is lower than the record-breaking 83 licenses awarded in last year’s round in the mature areas.

In this year’s awards, as many as 28 different oil companies, ranging from the large international majors to smaller domestic exploration companies, were offered ownership interests in one or more production licenses, the ministry said.

The companies that won licenses and/or operatorships include Equinor, Aker BP, Shell, ConocoPhillips, Lundin, Suncor, Total, Vår Energi, and Wintershall Dea.

“Hopefully, the exploration in the awarded acreage will result in new discoveries. This is important to ensure employment, value-creation and future government revenue for Norway’s largest industry,” minister Listhaug said.  

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Norway’s oil production is expected to jump in 2020 through 2023, thanks to the start up of Johan Sverdrup, which began pumping oil in early October 2019. But after Johan Sverdrup and after Johan Castberg in the Barents Sea scheduled for first oil in 2022, Norway doesn’t have major oil discoveries and projects to sustain its oil production after the middle of the 2020s.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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