Offer of ownership interests in APA 2009

Today, 19 January, an offer of 38 new production licences on the Norwegian shelf was announced.

The offers were made following appraisal of applications from 44 companies by the authorities in the Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) 2009.

Of the 38 production licences, 25 are located in the North Sea, ten are in the Norwegian Sea and three are in the Barents Sea.

”It is clear that the oil companies still find it interesting to explore for oil and gas in mature areas. The North Sea is particularly attractive even now, 40 years after Ekofisk was discovered," comments Sissel Eriksen, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate's director of exploration.

She believes that this interest is in part due to the fact that the geology is well-known, and that there is a well-developed infrastructure in the area.

”The NPD is very pleased with APA 2009. The Norwegian shelf is attractive, and this will help maintain a steady and high level of exploration activity. This is important if we are to find resources in the mature areas," Eriksen points out.

She notes that these areas have a time-critical infrastructure, and that exploration here is a matter of some urgency if we are to realize the maximum resource potential.

Twelve of the production licences are additional acreage to existing production licences. Five of these border discoveries/fields. Seven of the new licences, all in the North Sea, are stratigraphically delineated and only apply to levels below/above a defined stratigraphic limit.

42 companies will receive an offer of ownership interests. None of them are new players on the Norwegian shelf. 19 companies will be offered operatorships. Two of them, Bridge Energy and Repsol Exploration Norge, have not previously been operators on the Norwegian shelf.

The offers have terms and conditions attached. The authorities require the drilling of three firm wells, all in the North Sea (Statoil: 1, Noreco: 1 and Lundin: 1). 16 of the production licences are subject to drill or drop requirements. This means that the licensees have between one and three years to decide whether to drill a well. If they decide not to, the production licence becomes void. Requirements have been set for acquisition of new seismic data in seven areas.

APA 2009 was announced on 9 March 2009. When the application deadline expired on 15 September 2009, the total area possible to apply for was 55 319 km2 , distributed  between 227 blocks/parts of blocks. Of these, 127 blocks/parts of blocks are in the North Sea, 61 are in the Norwegian Sea and 39 are in the Barents Sea.

In the first APA round in 2003, the authorities received applications from 16 companies. Since then, the number of applicants and applications has increased every year, and a total of 47 companies applied in APA 2008. During the same period, the available area included in the APA scheme has been expanded several times, comprising a total of 138 791 km2 in APA 2009, unchanged from the previous year.

See the press release from the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy for details on the issued offers.

Contact in the NPD:
Astri Fritsen, tel. +47 51 87 64 74
Bernt Egeland, tel. +47 51 87 61 85