Licensing rounds

The numbered licensing rounds, which include frontier parts of the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS), are normally held every other year. The Awards in Predefined Areas (APA), which comprise the mature parts of the shelf with known geology and good infrastructure, are announced every year. Companies wanting to pursue petroleum operations on the NCS must be qualified as a licensee or operator. A prequalification process is provided to assess whether applicants meet government requirements.

Nominasjon til 24. konsesjonsrunde

The 24th licensing round

In the autumn of 2016, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy invited oil companies to nominate blocks for the 24th licensing round.The announcement is expected before summer 2017.

APA 2016

17 January, offers for 56 new production licences on the Norwegian continental shelf will be sent to 29 companies. The offers are made following the authorities' assessment of applications from 33 companies in the Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) 2016.

See archive for previous licensing rounds and awards.

Seismic data

All seismic data acquired on the Norwegian continental sheld (NCS) must be delivered to the NPD. Depending on the type of survey, seismic data sets are made available to the market after two, five or ten years.

Seismic data overview.

Geological plays



Geological plays and SHAPE-files

A play is a geographically and stratigraphically delimited area where a specific set of geological factors such as reservoir rock, trap, mature source rock and migrations paths exist in order that petroleum may be provable.

Go to Geological plays

NPD bulletins  

NPD bulletins

The NPD bulletins summarise the current stratigraphical nomenclature (naming system) on the Norwegian shelf. Stratigraphy is the geology branch which studies strata, age, composition and distribution of stratified geological sediments.

Go to NPD bulletins

Increased value creation

A diversity of companies promotes competition and efficient utilisation of resources. Norwegian authorities therefore paves the way for new players on the shelf. New players must be pre-qualified before they can apply in licensing rounds.

They shall contribute to value creation through their technical petroleum expertise. They must also have HSE expertise that helps reinforce safety on the shelf.

Area fees provides an incentive for companies to move from discoveries to development and production in the areas for which they have been awarded licences. The fees are payable each year per square kilometre of the area covered by a production licence.

No area fee is paid for areas that are being actively explored or where there is production.


Read more about Norway’s exploration policy on