Interest in APA remains high

A preliminary count shows that 44 companies have applied for acreage in the Awards in Predefined Areas 2009 (APA 2009).

Interest in the awards in predefined areas in the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea remains high, seven years after the scheme was established.

"This confirms that mature areas on the Norwegian shelf are still interesting for the oil companies," says Sissel Eriksen, NPD director in charge of exploration.

"High oil prices in recent years have made the Norwegian shelf attractive, which is confirmed by the very high level of exploration activity."

"Of course, the Norwegian shelf is not unaffected by world events, including the international financial crisis. In spite of this, however, most of the companies that applied in APA 2008 have also sent in applications this year," she adds.

APA 2009 was announced on 9 March 2009:
Awards in predefined areas 2009 (APA 2009) announcement

At the 15 September deadline, companies could apply for a total of 55,319 km2, divided between 227 blocks. This represents an increase compared with APA 2008, due to the fact that more than 18,000 km2 of acreage was relinquished over the past year. Relinquished acreage within the APA area is included in the area that the companies can apply for. The boundaries of the APA area have not been expanded since APA 2008.

In the first APA round in 2003, the authorities received applications from 16 companies for an announced area of 38,344 km2. Since then, this number has grown each year, with the authorities receiving applications in APA 2008 from 47 companies for an area of 48,057 km2. 11,149 km2 of this area was awarded in early 2009.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate believes that the APA scheme promotes better, faster exploration of mature areas on the Norwegian shelf. Several new players have contributed new ideas and new exploration targets, which have led to a number of new discoveries in older areas of the Norwegian shelf. The scheme gives the industry regular access to prospective acreage and ensures that the acreage is relinquished faster, thus making it available to new players.  
The awards will take place at the end of 2009/beginning of 2010.

See the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy's press release here

Contacts in the NPD:

Astri Fritsen, tel. +47 51 87 64 74
Bernt Egeland, tel. +47 51 87 61 85