There are two systems for awarding licenses on the Norwegian continental shelf.
In 2003 the Government introduced the annual system of Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) in mature parts of the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS). This system replaced the annual North Sea Awards.
The APA system ensures that very large areas close to existing and planned infrastructure are available for the industry. The APA area will be expanded as new areas mature, but the area is not to be reduced.
In addition to the APA-system, there is a system of ordinary concession rounds held normally every second year. These rounds focus on frontier areas on the shelf where the potential for petroleum is less explored and where fewer infrastructures are built.