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Eleven companies have applied for production licenses in the 24th licensing round on the Norwegian shelf. The deadline for applications was 30 November.
A total of 102 blocks or parts of blocks were announced in this licensing round. Of these, nine are in the Norwegian Sea and 93 in the Barents Sea.
“The oil companies nominated many areas in this round, and the authorities have listened and responded with an extensive announcement. We have received applications in both the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea,” says Torgeir Stordal, exploration director in the NPD. Most applications received are for the Barents Sea, and the companies are particularly interested in the announced acreage in the northwestern part of the region.
“In this round, the announced blocks are mostly in frontier areas. We see that the list of applicants is dominated by large and medium-sized companies with good technical and financial capacity to conduct exploration in such areas.”
Twenty-six companies applied for production licences in the 23rd licensing round. No new acreage was opened in the 24th licensing round, as was the case prior to the 23rd round. At the same time, the predefined area (APA) was expanded earlier this year, and there was substantial interest in APA 2017, with 39 companies delivering a record-breaking number of applications. The applicant landscape could indicate that some parties are prioritising exploration in mature areas this time around.
11 companies have applied for production licences, either alone or in groups:
Now begins the work of evaluating the applications. Companies that are awarded licences must have technical expertise and a solid understanding of the geology. Emphasis will also be placed on financial strength and experience.
The announced blocks are subject to fishery and environmental terms and constraints. This is outlined in the announcement letter. The announced blocks have been mapped by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate to ensure a good evaluation process. The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy aims to award new production licences in the 24th licensing round before the summer of 2018.