Act relating to mineral activities on the Continental Shelf

Chapter Overview


Chapter 1. Introductory provisions

Section 1-1. Legislative purpose

This Act shall facilitate exploration for and production of mineral deposits on the Continental Shelf in accordance with social objectives, in such a manner that safeguards considerations such as value creation, environment, safety, other business activity, as well as other interests.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 1-2. Scope and extent of the Act

This Act relates to activity associated with exploration for and production of mineral deposits on the seabed and the underlying subsurface.

This Act does not apply to scientific research on subsea mineral deposits. The King can issue regulations concerning application of the Act as regards marine species, plants and genetic material that is extracted in the course of activities covered under the first subsection.

The Act applies with the limitations that follow from treaties with foreign states or international law in general.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 1-3. Geographical scope of the Act

The Act applies to mineral deposits in Norway’s internal waters, Norway’s territorial waters and on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

Territorial waters means the sea area from the baselines out to twelve nautical miles as established pursuant to Act No. 57 of 27 June 2003 relating to Norway’s territorial waters and contiguous zone. Internal waters comprise the sea areas within the baselines. The Act does not apply for that part of the sea that is subject to private property rights.

The Continental Shelf means the seabed and the subsurface in the subsea areas that extend throughout the entire natural extension of the land territory to the outer edge of the continental margin, but not less than 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the width of the territorial waters is measured. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the delimitation line for the Continental Shelf in relation to another state does not extend beyond the median line, unless other rules follow from international law for continental shelves outside 200 nautical miles from the baselines, or from a treaty with the relevant state.

The Act does not apply to activity associated with mineral deposits on the Norwegian Continental Shelf outside Queen Maud Land and Peter I Island or mineral activities in sea areas outside Norwegian jurisdiction, such as the international seabed area.

The King can issue regulations or stipulate in individual decisions that the Act shall also apply for further processing of minerals from an extracted subsea mineral deposit that takes place on Norwegian land territory or sea territory subject to private property rights, when such processing is necessary for or constitutes an integral part of the production.

The King can issue regulations regarding the geographical scope of the Act.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 1-4. Right to mineral deposits and resource management

The Norwegian State has right of ownership to mineral deposits on the Continental Shelf and exclusive rights as regards resource management.
Resource management is controlled by the King in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 1-5. Definitions

The following definitions apply in this Act:

a) mineral activities: all activity that is covered under Section 1-2 of this Act

b) facility: installation, plant and other equipment for mineral activities, including pipelines and cables unless otherwise specified, but not supply and standby vessels or ships that transport minerals in bulk

c) survey: exploration for and mapping of mineral deposits for commercial purposes, including geological, geophysical, geochemical and geotechnical activities and operation and use of facilities to the extent they are used for survey activity

d) production: extraction of minerals from the seabed or the underlying subsurface for commercial purposes, including processing on facilities, disposal of potential surplus material from operation and construction, placement, operation and use of the facilities that are necessary for production and transport of the minerals to facilities or transport ships

e) licensee: a physical person or body corporate whom, under this statute or previous legislation, has received permission to conduct surveys or extraction/production of mineral deposits or a special permit for installation and operation of facilities, a group of persons who together have secured such permission, or a person who is part of such a group

f) operator: a licensee that is responsible for daily management of the mineral activity

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 1-6. Licence requirement

None other than the State can conduct mineral activities on the Continental Shelf without a licence, approval or consent pursuant to this statute. The other provisions in the statute and the regulations laid down in pursuance thereof, apply for government mineral activities insofar as they are appropriate.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 1-7. Requirement for prudent mineral activities

Mineral activities under this statute shall take place in a prudent manner and shall safeguard considerations for safety for personnel, the environment and the financial assets represented by facilities and vessels.

The mineral activity must not, unnecessarily or to an unreasonable extent, complicate or impede ship traffic, fishing, aviation or other activity, or cause damage or risk of damage to pipelines, cables or other subsea facilities. All reasonable precautions shall be taken to avoid damage to the diversity of nature in the sea, or cultural artefacts on the seabed, and to avoid pollution and littering.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 1-8. Mobile facilities under foreign flags

Other Norwegian statutes than this statute and decisions made pursuant to other legislation do not apply for mobile facilities under foreign flags other than those that are permanently located, unless otherwise follows from statute or stipulated by the King in Council.

Effective 1 July 2019.

 

Chapter 2. Opening areas for surveys and production

Section 2-1. Opening areas for mineral activities

The King in Council can decide that a precisely defined area of the Norwegian Continental Shelf shall be opened for mineral activities.

Prior to opening an area pursuant to the first subsection, an impact assessment must be conducted.

A draft decision to open a new area for mineral activities, with the associated impact assessment, must be submitted for consultation. Stakeholders shall normally be given a deadline of at least three months for submitting statements.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 2-2. Impact assessment prior to opening

The Ministry is responsible for conducting an impact assessment prior to opening new areas on the Continental Shelf for mineral activities.

The impact assessment shall contribute to shed light on the various interests that apply to the area in question, so that this can form a basis when decisions are made regarding whether, and/or on which terms, the area can be opened for mineral activities. The impact assessment shall highlight which effects a potential opening could have for the environment, as well as the expected impact on business, financial and social factors.

The King can issue regulations relating to impact assessments.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 2-3. Mineral activities in opened areas

Permission to conduct mineral activities can only be granted for areas that are opened pursuant to Section 2-1.

The King can decide that the statute’s requirements as regards the opening process can be made non-mandatory for mineral deposits near the coast that are included under Chapter 10.

In special cases, the King in Council can grant permission to conduct mineral activities in areas that are not comprised by the first subsection.

Effective 1 July 2019.

 

Chapter 3. Survey licences

Section 3-1. Application for and award of survey licences

Subject to written application, the Ministry can grant a survey licence to a physical person or body corporate.

Applications for a survey licence must include a precise designation of the geographical area in question. The application must also provide an account of

a) in the form of a survey programme, which surveys one wants to perform

b) the objective of the surveys, including the mineral deposits one wants to examine

c) planned start and end date for the surveys

d) where the surveys will be performed within the geographical area.

The Ministry can issue regulations regarding more detailed requirements for the content of the application.

The licence can be granted for all or parts of the applied for area and can stipulate the geographical coordinates for the area in question.

A survey licence can be granted for up to five years. If a survey licence is granted for a shorter period, the Ministry can subsequently extend the licence within the five-year framework.
A processing fee must be paid for applications for survey licences. The

Ministry issues regulations regarding the fee amount.

The Ministry can issue regulations on, or stipulate in the respective licence which terms are linked to a licence, such as requirements relating to technology, mandatory safety measures and requirements to report activities.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 3-2. A survey licence does not give exclusive or preferential rights

A survey licence does not give exclusive rights to conduct surveys in the areas mentioned in the licence, nor does it give preferential rights in connection with the award of production licences.

The Ministry can award production licences to others in areas that are covered by a survey licence.

A survey licence under this statute does not preclude

a) the granting of rights to conduct exploration for and production of petroleum deposits pursuant to the Petroleum Act

b) activity pursuant to Act No. 12 of 21 June 1963 relating to scientific research and exploration for and exploitation of subsea natural resources other than petroleum resources and mineral deposits

c) activity pursuant to the Marine Resources Act

d) activity pursuant to the Marine Energy Act.

A survey licence cannot be granted for areas that are included in production licences awarded pursuant to Section 4-1. Exceptions can be made from the first sentence if the application for a survey licence relates to other minerals than those encompassed by ongoing or planned production pursuant to an approved plan for production according to Section 4-4, and the licensees in the production licence consent to such activity.

Section 4-8 applies correspondingly for the right for other parties to place facilities in areas covered by a survey licence.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 3-3. Reports in connection with surveys, etc.

No later than five weeks before the activity under a survey licence is started, the licensee must send a report to the Ministry, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the Directorate of Fisheries, the Institute of Marine Research, the Norwegian Coastal Administration and the Ministry of Defence with information on

a) time, duration and exact information regarding the area affected by the surveys, with position lines

b) survey method that will be applied

c) which vessel will be used

d) in which form the results of the survey will be available.

The Ministry can issue regulations regarding submitting reports in connection with surveys, e.g. regarding exceptions from the deadline in the first subsection.

The Ministry can issue regulations mandating that vessels that conduct surveys for minerals, shall have on board and use equipment that monitors and reports vessel activity, such as satellite tracking equipment and voyage data recorder.

Effective 1 July 2019.

 

Chapter 4. Production licences, etc.

Section 4-1. Announcement and award

The King can award production licences pursuant to specific conditions. A production licence gives the licensee exclusive rights to conduct surveys for and extraction of all mineral deposits in the area covered by the licence.

Production licences can only be awarded to bodies corporate that are formed in accordance with Norwegian legislation and are registered in the Register of Business Enterprises, unless otherwise follows from international treaties.

Prior to award of a production licence, the King shall publicly announce the area which is open for production licence applications. The announcement must state the criteria that form the basis for licence award, as well as the applicable deadlines and terms. In special cases, the King can award production licences without announcement.

Areas that are announced shall be specified with geographical coordinates. The coordinates are stipulated in accordance with Section 3-2 of the Petroleum Act.

The licence can be awarded for all or parts of the area applied for. The King stipulates the geographical coordinates for the production licence.

The King can issue regulations, or stipulate in the respective licences, outlining which terms are linked to the licence, such as the scope of the work commitment that must be fulfilled, technology requirements, financial guarantees and mandatory safety measures.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 4-2. Application for award of production licence

An application for a production licence must provide an account of

a) which mineral deposits are identified in the area

b) which minerals or mineral deposits will be extracted

c) known resource potential, if applicable

d) the geographical area sought in the licence

e) applicant’s financial means

f) applicant’s technological expertise and technical capacity to implement

g) the proposed development solution

h) all other information that is necessary to make a decision on the application.

The Ministry can issue regulations with more detailed requirements as regards the content of the application.

A processing fee must be paid for a production licence application. The Ministry issues regulations regarding the fee amount.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 4-3. Work commitment and work programme

An application for a production licence must be accompanied by a proposed work programme. The programme shall cover the period up to the date when the production plan is submitted.

The King can mandate that licensees carry out a more specific work commitment for the area covered under the production licence. The content and scope of the work commitment and the deadline for completion are stipulated by the King in the respective production licence. Unless a shorter deadline is set, the work commitment must be fulfilled within the period stipulated according to Section 4-5 (1).

The King can, subject to application, make exceptions from or amend the work commitment.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 4-4. Plan for producing mineral deposits

If a licensee in a production licence decides to produce a mineral deposit, the licensee shall submit a plan for producing the mineral deposit to the Ministry for approval. This plan must be adapted to the scope of the activity and contain a description of the production and an impact assessment. Upon application in special cases, the Ministry can waive the requirement for a plan for production, in whole or in part.

The description of the production shall e.g. provide an account of the technical solutions and the economic, resource-related, technical and safety factors associated with the development and the operation. In addition, the impact assessment shall include commercial and environmental factors, such as preventive and remedial measures, and information about how a facility can be decommissioned upon cessation of the mineral activity.

The plan shall also include information about facilities for transport or processing that are covered under Section 4-7, and provide information about which licences, etc. have been applied for pursuant to other legislation.

The Ministry can issue regulations regarding detailed requirements for a plan for production.

If production is planned in two or more stages, the plan shall cover the overall production insofar as possible. The Ministry can limit its approval to specific stages.

No significant contractual obligations shall be entered into and no construction work shall be started until a plan for development is approved, unless the Ministry consents to this.

In a separate document, the Ministry shall provide an account and explanation of the decision to approve or not approve a plan for production. The Ministry’s reasons shall e.g. indicate which environmental criteria may be linked to the approval, and which measures may be presumed to mitigate significant negative impact on the environment. The document shall be published, with the exception of any confidential information, if relevant.

The Ministry must be notified about and approve significant deviations or changes in the preconditions for a submitted or approved plan and significant changes regarding facilities. The Ministry can demand that a new or amended plan be submitted for approval.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 4-5. Production licence duration

A production licence is granted for up to ten years. If the production licence is granted for a shorter period, the Ministry can subsequently extend the licence within the ten-year framework.

Licensees that have fulfilled the work commitment pursuant to Section 4-3, and the terms that otherwise apply for the respective production licence, can apply for extension of the production licence beyond the period that is set pursuant to the first subsection. In the assessment of whether extension shall be granted, the Ministry shall consider the likelihood that a plan for production will be submitted to the Ministry for approval by the end of the extension period. Extensions can be granted for periods of up to five years. The Ministry can stipulate a new work commitment and new terms in connection with the extension. The rules regarding work commitments in Section 4-3 apply correspondingly for work commitments according to the fourth sentence.

When a plan for production is submitted to the Ministry for approval, the licensee is entitled, upon application, to have the production licence extended by up to 20 years. Upon application from the licensee, the Ministry can decide on further extensions presuming that the production is always carried out in accordance with an approved production plan.

If production is not initiated within five years after the plan for production was approved, the production licence will lapse. The same applies if initiated production is suspended for more than two years. The Ministry can extend the deadline under the first and second sentences if it can be substantiated that the production will be commenced or resumed within a reasonable period of time.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 4-6. Relinquishment of areas

The Ministry shall, when awarding a production licence, stipulate how much of the area covered by the licence for which the licensee can demand extension pursuant to Section 4-5, third subsection. The Ministry can, upon application, consent to the licensee retaining more than the area stipulated in connection with the award.

The licensee can, with three months’ notice and with effect from the next calendar year, relinquish all or parts of the area covered by a production licence. The Ministry can demand that the terms for the licence, and the obligations that follow therefrom, must be fulfilled before relinquishing parts of the area or surrendering the production licence.

The Ministry can issue regulations regarding delimiting areas that are relinquished pursuant to the first and second subsections.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 4-7. Special licence to install and operate facilities

The Ministry can, on more specific terms, grant licences to install and operate facilities on the Continental Shelf when the right to install and operate does not follow from an approved plan for production.

Licences pursuant to the first subsection are granted for a specific period and can be extended by the Ministry upon application from the licensee.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 4-8. Right for other parties to place facilities, etc.

Licensees cannot object to other parties laying pipelines, cables or other types of lines, or placing other facilities on, in or over the area covered by a production licence. Such facilities must not cause unreasonable disadvantage for the licensee, and cannot be within the safety zone stipulated by the Ministry pursuant to Section 6-3.

The provisions in the first subsection apply correspondingly for necessary route and seabed surveys for such placement.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 4-9. Other natural resources than minerals, etc.

A production licence under this Act does not prevent other parties than the licensee from being granted the right to conduct surveys for and production of petroleum deposits pursuant to the Petroleum Act when this does not entail unreasonable disadvantage for the mineral activity that the licensee conducts pursuant to the production licence. The same applies to

a) activity pursuant to Act No. 12 of 21 June 1963 relating to scientific research and exploration for and exploitation of subsea natural resources other than petroleum resources and mineral deposits

b) activity pursuant to the Marine Resources Act and the Nature Diversity Act

c) activity pursuant to the Marine Energy Act.

If petroleum is discovered in an area covered by a production licence under this Act, and continued petroleum activity cannot take place without entailing unreasonable disadvantage for the mineral activity the licensee conducts pursuant to the production licence, the King shall determine which of the activities shall be postponed and if so, in what scope. Such decisions shall take into consideration the type of discovery made, investments undertaken, the stage the activity has reached, the activity’s duration and scope and its economic and social significance.

Parties who have had their activity postponed are entitled, upon application, to have the licence extended for a period of time corresponding to the postponement. If the postponement only relates to a limited part of the activity that can be conducted pursuant to the licence, the Ministry can determine a shorter extension or decide that the extension not be granted, or be granted only for a part of the area covered by the licence.
If the postponement entails that the work commitment pursuant to Section 4-3 cannot be completed within the set deadline, the deadline shall be extended as necessary.

If the mineral activity is postponed, the area fee for the period of such postponement shall be waived.

If a postponement pursuant to the second subsection must be presumed to be particularly lengthy, the licence can be recalled instead.

By means of individual decisions, the King can decide that parties that are allowed to maintain their activity, shall refund accrued costs in whole or in part, and to a reasonable extent also cover other loss for parties that must postpone, restrict or suspend their activity.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 4-10. Ownership rights to produced minerals

The licensee under the production licence has ownership of the minerals that are produced when they are brought up from the seabed to the sea surface.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 4-11. Prudent production

Production must take place in accordance with prudent technical, environmental and healthy financial principles, and shall avoid unnecessary loss of minerals. To achieve this, the licensee must continuously assess the production strategy and technical solutions, and implement necessary measures.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 4-12. Coordinated activity and use of facilities by others

If it makes sense to coordinate the production/extraction of mineral deposits for which different licensees have a production licence, licensees shall seek to agree on the most efficient coordination of the mineral activity.

Agreements on coordination of mineral activities must be approved by the Ministry. If such agreement is not reached within a reasonable time, the Ministry can decide how such coordinated mineral activities shall be implemented.

The Ministry can determine that facilities covered under Sections 4-4 and 4-7, and that are owned or used by a licensee, can be used by other parties if the consideration for efficient operation or social considerations indicate this, and the Ministry finds that such use is not unreasonably detrimental for a licensee’s own needs, or for a party that is already entitled to use the facility.

An agreement on use of facilities covered under Sections 4-4 and 4-7 shall be submitted to the Ministry for approval, unless the Ministry decides otherwise. The Ministry can, in connection with approving agreements according to the first sentence, or if accord is not reached on such agreement within a reasonable period of time, as well as in connection with orders pursuant to the second subsection, stipulate tariffs and other terms, or subsequently amend the terms that have been agreed, approved or stipulated, to ensure that projects are implemented based on resource management considerations and that the owner of the facility is given a reasonable profit, based e.g. on investment and risk.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 4-13. Production licence with multiple licensees

The Ministry can, upon application, decide that multiple licensees can be participants in a production licence, and upon award can determine that a production licence shall be divided among multiple licensees.

If a production licence is divided among multiple licensees, the Ministry designates one of them as operator. Changes in operator require approval by the Ministry.

The Ministry can set conditions for award of a production licence that the licensees must enter into agreements with specific content amongst themselves, and that regulate the cooperation in the production licence.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 4-14. Transfer of licence, etc.

A full or partial transfer of a production licence or licence to install and operate facilities can only take place with consent from the Ministry. The same applies for other direct or indirect transfer of ownership interests or participation in the licence, such as transfer of shareholdings and other assets that can give controlling interest over a licensee that holds a participating interest in a licence.

A transfer of the licensee’s ownership rights to permanent facilities can only take place with the Ministry’s consent.

The Ministry can issue regulations regarding which terms can be stipulated in cases pursuant to the first and second subsections.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 4-15. Fee to the International Seabed Authority

Mineral activities outside 200 nautical miles may be subject to a fee to the International Seabed Authority. The Ministry issues regulations regarding the amount of the fee, how it is calculated and as regards collection of the fee.
Fee claims pursuant to the first subsection with the addition of interest and costs are a basis for enforcement of debt.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 4-16. Landing minerals

The Ministry can, by means of individual decisions or regulation, determine where and how such landing of minerals shall take place.
Effective 1 July 2019.

 

Chapter 5. Cessation of activity, etc.

Section 5-1. Clean-up obligation

The licensee must ensure prudent clean-up while the work is under way and after it is finished, and carry out measures as determined by the Ministry as regards clean-up and cessation.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 5-2. Cessation plan

Unless the Ministry decides or consents otherwise, the licensee shall present a cessation plan to the Ministry no later than two years before a licence pursuant to Sections 4-1 or 4-7 expires or is surrendered, or use of a facility finally ends. The licensee shall report to the Ministry regarding the cessation date if the use of a facility will presumably cease before the licence expires.

A cessation plan shall include a proposal regarding continued production or shutdown of production and disposal of facilities where this is relevant. Such disposal can e.g. be continued use in the mineral activity, other use, full or partial removal or abandonment. The plan shall contain a description of the cessation, an impact assessment and the information and assessments deemed necessary to make a decision pursuant to Section 5-3. The Ministry can request additional information and assessments, or demand a new or amended plan. The Ministry can issue regulations regarding detailed requirements for a cessation plan.

The Ministry can, in special cases, waive the requirement to present a cessation plan.

In the event of a licence re-call, the provisions in the first to third subsections apply insofar as they are appropriate.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 5-3. Decision regarding disposal

The Ministry shall make decisions regarding disposal and set a deadline for implementing the decision. The assessment that forms the basis for the decision shall, among other things, emphasise technical, safety-related, environmental and financial aspects, as well as consideration for other users of the sea.

The licensee and the owner of a facility are obliged to ensure that decisions regarding disposal are carried out, unless the Ministry decides otherwise. The obligation to carry out the disposal decision applies even if the disposal decision is made or will be carried out after expiration of the licence.

If a licence or an interest in a licence is transferred pursuant to Section 4-14, the transferring licensee shall be alternatively financially liable vis-à-vis the other licensees for the costs associated with carrying out a disposal decision.

The transferring licensee shall also be alternatively liable vis-à-vis the State if expenses associated with the Ministry’s decision on measures pursuant to the sixth subsection are not covered by the licensee or another liable party.

The financial responsibility pursuant to the first and second sentences is calculated based on the size of the transferred interest and shall be submitted against the transferring licensee after deduction of the tax value of the costs incurred to carry out the disposal decision. The transferring licensee’s obligations remain in connection with subsequent transfers of the interest or parts thereof, nevertheless such that a claim shall first be directed to the company that most recently transferred the interest. The financial liability is limited to costs linked to facilities that existed as at the transfer date. The same applies for the transferring owner in connection with a full or partial transfer of ownership interests in the licensee.

If a facility is transferred pursuant to Section 4-14, the licensee and the owner are jointly obliged to ensure that the disposal decision is carried out, unless the Ministry decides otherwise.

If the disposal decision entails that the facility will continue to be used in the mineral activity or some other use; the licensee, the owner and the user are jointly obliged to ensure that future decisions regarding disposal are carried out, unless the Ministry decides otherwise.

If a decision regarding disposal is not carried out within the stipulated deadline, the Ministry can implement necessary measures on behalf of the licensee or another liable party, and for their account and risk. Expenses associated with such measures are a basis for enforcement of debt.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 5-4. Liability

Parties who are obligated to carry out a disposal decision pursuant to Section 5-3, are liable for damage or disadvantage caused deliberately or with negligence in connection with disposal of the facility or other implementation of the decision.

If the decision entails abandonment, the licensee or the owner are liable for damage or disadvantage caused deliberately or with negligence in connection with the abandoned facility, unless the Ministry decides otherwise.

If there are multiple liable parties pursuant to the first or second subsection, they are jointly and severally liable for financial obligations, unless the Ministry decides otherwise.

In connection with an abandonment decision, agreement can be reached between the licensees and the owner and the State that future maintenance and liability shall be taken over by the State in return for contractual financial compensation.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 5-5. Encumbrances

If the State demands removal of a facility, any encumbrances thereon will lapse. The same applies if the State takes over the facility pursuant to Section 5-6, but then rights of use established with the Ministry’s consent shall nevertheless remain.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 5-6. State takeover

The State has the right to take over a licensee’s permanent facilities on the Continental Shelf when the licence expires, is surrendered or recalled, or when the use of such facilities finally ends. The King determines with binding effect whether and to what extent compensation shall be paid for such takeover.

If the State has indicated that it will exercise its right to take over permanent facilities, such takeover will become effective six months after the licence expires or lapses in some other manner, or if use of the facility has finally ended, unless otherwise agreed, or the Ministry determines otherwise.

In the event of a State takeover, the facility with appurtenant equipment shall be in such condition as is indicated by prudent maintenance for operational functionality. Disputes concerning this and regarding the compensation that will potentially be paid to the State for deficient maintenance, shall be decided by means of discretion.

Effective 1 July 2019.

 

Chapter 6. Special safety requirements

Section 6-1. Safety

Mineral activities shall be conducted such that a high level of safety can be maintained and developed in line with the technological development. The King can issue regulations regarding safety in the mineral activity.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 6-2. Emergency preparedness

The licensee and others that take part in the mineral activity shall at all times maintain effective emergency preparedness with a view to handling hazard and accident situations that can entail loss of human life or other personal injury, pollution or significant material damage. The licensee is obliged to ensure that necessary measures are implemented to prevent or minimise harmful effects, including what is necessary to restore the environment to its state prior to the accident, insofar as possible. The Ministry can issue regulations regarding emergency preparedness and measures pursuant to the first and second sentence. This can include orders regarding emergency preparedness cooperation among several licensees.

In the event of hazard and accident situations as mentioned in the first subsection, the Ministry can determine that others shall make the necessary emergency preparedness resources available at the licensee’s expense. The Ministry can, for the licensee’s expense, also implement measures to secure necessary additional resources in some other manner.

The rules in Chapter 5 of Act No. 7 of 15 December 1950 relating to special measures in time of war, threat of war and similar circumstances shall apply correspondingly insofar as they are appropriate.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 6-3. Safety zones, etc.

There shall be a safety zone around and above facilities on the Continental Shelf, unless the Ministry decides otherwise. The Ministry can establish or expand safety zones in hazard and accident situations. The extent of zones as mentioned in the first and second sentences is determined by the King. The first and second sentences do not apply for pipelines and cables.

The King can issue regulations or make individual decisions to the effect that a safety zone shall extend over the delimitation line to another state’s continental shelf. Furthermore, the King can decide that there shall be a safety zone on the Norwegian Continental Shelf even if the facility in question lies outside this.

The Ministry can issue regulations or make individual decisions to the effect that a zone equivalent to the safety zone shall be established at a time reasonably in advance of placement of facilities as mentioned in the first subsection.

The Ministry can issue regulations or make decisions to the effect that there shall be a safety zone around and over abandoned or dumped facilities or parts of such facilities.

Unauthorised vessels, hovercraft, aircraft, fishing tools or other objects must not be within a zone as mentioned in the first through fourth subsections. If fishing can take place in the zone or parts of the zone without threatening the safety or preventing the exercise of the mineral activity, the Ministry can nevertheless issue regulations or make individual decisions to the effect that such fishing is permitted.

The Ministry can issue regulations regarding access for facilities as mentioned in the first subsection to zones as mentioned in the third subsection, and regarding marking and other measures out of consideration for navigation.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 6-4. Suspension

In the event of hazard and accident situations as mentioned in Section 6-2, the licensee or others who are responsible for operation and use of the facility, can suspend the activity to the necessary extent as indicated by the requirement for prudent activity.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 6-5. Qualifications

The licensee and others that take part in mineral activities, shall have the necessary qualifications to carry out the work in a prudent manner. Training shall take place as necessary.

The licensee is also obliged to ensure that anyone who performs work for him complies with the provisions in the first subsection.

Effective 1 July 2019.

 

Chapter 7. Registration and mortgaging

Section 7-1. Registration of licences

The Ministry shall keep a register of all production licences awarded pursuant to this Act. The register shall be called the Seabed Minerals Register. The Ministry can issue regulations to the effect that the register shall also include licences granted pursuant to Section 4-7.

Each licence will have its own page in the register. The Ministry will keep a journal over the documents to be registered, and can issue regulations concerning how the journal and the register shall be organised and kept, reporting obligations for the licensee in connection with transfers and other changes concerning the licence, and the general procedure regarding registration. Regulations can also be issued as regards collection of fees.

Chapters 2 and 3 of the Land Registration Act apply correspondingly insofar as they are appropriate, and otherwise does not follow from this Act or regulations issued pursuant to the Act.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 7-2. Mortgaging licences

The Ministry can consent to a licensee mortgaging an entire licence, or that the individual licensee mortgages its share of a licence as part of financing the activity linked to the licence. In special cases, the Ministry can consent to the financing comprising activity in another licence than the one that is mortgaged.

A mortgage according to the first subsection has legal protection when registered in the Seabed Minerals Register.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 7-3. Scope of mortgage rights, etc.

In connection with mortgaging of entire licences pursuant to Section 7-2, the mortgage right encompasses the rights that follow from the licence at any given time, and the mortgagor’s other rights associated with the activity that is carried out in accordance with the licence.

The mortgage right does not include rights in facilities that are registered in another assets register, or rights in facilities placed on land or sea territory that is subject to private property rights.

The mortgage right also does not include rights in mobile construction machinery that can be mortgaged pursuant to Section 3-8 of the Mortgage Act, or rights in other movables that can be registered in another assets register. The rules in Sections 3-4 and 3-7 of the Mortgage Act apply correspondingly insofar as they are appropriate.

In the event of mortgage of an interest in a licence pursuant to Section 7-2, the mortgage right includes the mortgagor’s undivided interest in the property associated with the licence at any given time and the mortgagor’s other rights in connection with activity carried out pursuant to the licence.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 7-4. Mortgagee’s rights, etc.

The Ministry shall give a mortgagee written notification of recall or surrender of a licence or part thereof, with the information that the mortgage right lapses if a petition for compulsory sale is not made without undue delay. If the petition for compulsory sale is timely, no new licence can be issued in conflict with the mortgagee’s rights.

A mortgage right as mentioned in  cannot be transferred or mortgaged without the Ministry’s consent. In the absence of such consent, it also cannot be subject to distraint, seizure or debt negotiation, nor can it be included in mortgagee’s bankrupt estate.

Effective 1 July 2019.

 

Chapter 8. Special rules regarding compensation to Norwegian fishermen


Section 8-1. Substantive scope and definitions

This Chapter relates to compensation for financial loss that a mineral activity inflicts upon Norwegian fishermen as a consequence of the fact that the activity occupies fishing grounds, or entails pollution or waste, or that a facility or measures in connection with placement of a facility cause harm.
Pollution and waste in this Chapter shall be interpreted as in Section 6, first subsection, Nos. 1 and 2 and Section 27, first subsection of the Pollution Control Act.

In this Chapter, Norwegian fishermen means persons enrolled in the Norwegian fisherman census and owners of vessels enrolled in the register of Norwegian fishing vessels subject to registration requirements.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 8-2. Occupation

If the mineral activity in an area wholly or partially occupies fishing ground, the State is obliged to provide compensation for the financial loss this entails to the extent that fishing becomes impossible or is substantially complicated.
The compensation can be stipulated in whole or in part as a lump sum or a fixed annual sum. Compensation cannot be claimed for loss that arises more than seven years after the area occupation occurred.

The State can demand recourse from the licensee if the licensee should have averted the loss.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 8-3. Liability for pollution and waste

The licensee is liable for compensation without consideration for responsibility for financial loss as a consequence of pollution and waste from the mineral activity, costs for reasonable expenses to avert or limit such damage or such loss and for damage or loss such measures may entail.

The licensee’s liability pursuant to the first subsection also comprises damage and disadvantage from pollution and waste as a result of supply or standby vessel traffic and in connection with moving a facility to or from the field in question. The licensee can assert reimbursement liability against the direct tort feasor or the shipping company if the other criteria for liability are fulfilled.

In order to claim compensation for lost catch time in connection with locating, marking, retrieving or landing of objects, the objects must be properly labelled or brought to land and presented to the police, harbour authority or other comparable public authority, unless there are absolute obstacles that preclude this. In any event, the position must be reported to the police or the harbour authority.

The third subsection also applies in connection with compensation for other loss, if such marking, position report or landing can reasonably be demanded.

The liability for compensation also includes other vessels that assist a fishing vessel in bringing objects to land.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 8-4. Joint and several liability

If harm has been caused as mentioned in Section 8-3 and the tort feasor cannot be identified, the licensees shall be joint and severally liable to the extent it is likely that the harm could have been caused by mineral activities in connection with the relevant party’s licence.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 8-5. Facility, etc. that causes harm

If a facility or measure in connection with placement of a facility causes harm, and the claimant is not entitled to compensation pursuant to the provisions in Section 8-2, the licensee is liable for compensation without regard to fault for the financial loss the fishermen suffer as a consequence of said harm.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 8-6. Board, etc.

Claims that are filed pursuant to this Chapter shall be processed by a Board. The King issues regulations regarding the Board’s composition and case processing, and regarding the appeal process in the event of appeals of the Board’s decisions.

Within two months after the relevant party has been informed regarding the decision, the appeal body’s decision can, by means of a writ, be brought directly before the district court.

Claims stipulated by the Board or the appeal body are a basis for enforcement of debt after the appeal deadline or the deadline in the second subsection has expired.

If the deadline in the second subsection is exceeded, the appeal body can, pursuant to the rules in Section 31 of the Public Administration Act, decide that the district court shall take up the case for processing. Decisions relating to failure to comply with deadlines can be appealed to the district court.

Effective 1 July 2019.

 

Chapter 9. General provisions

Section 9-1. Regulatory supervision

The Ministry carries out supervision to ensure that the provisions laid down in or in pursuance of this Act are observed by all who conduct mineral activities covered by the Act.

The supervisory authority can issue the orders that are necessary to carry out the provisions laid down in or in pursuance of this Act.

The supervisory authority shall at all times have access to all facilities for conducting the supervisory activity, including ships that are used for mineral activities.

Expenses associated with supervision can be claimed from the licensee or the party that is the target or the location of the supervision in the individual case.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 9-2. Obligation to insure, to provide security, etc.

The activity that the licensee operates according to the Act shall be insured at all times. The licensee shall ensure reasonable insurance coverage based on the consideration for risk exposure and premium costs.

When awarding licences under this Act, or at a later point in time, the Ministry can determine that the licensee shall furnish such security as the Ministry approves, for fulfilment of the obligations the licensee has assumed in connection with mineral activities pursuant to this Act and for potential liability.

The Ministry can issue regulations regarding requirements for insurance coverage and furnishing security.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 9-3. Obligation to comply with the Act and ensure that provisions are observed

The licensee and others that participate in mineral activities under this Act, are obliged to implement systematic measures to ensure compliance with the Act, regulations issued with a legal basis in the Act and individual decisions made in pursuance of the Act.

The licensee is also obliged to ensure that any party that performs work for him, either personally, through employees or through contractors or subcontractors, complies with the provisions laid down in or in pursuance of the Act.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 9-4. Liability for obligations

Licensees that hold a licence together, are jointly and severally liable vis-à-vis the State for financial obligations that follow from mineral activities pursuant to the Act.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 9-5. Liability for tortious acts

If any party that performs assignments for a licensee becomes liable for compensation vis-à-vis a third party, the licensee is liable for the compensation claim to the same extent and in joint and several liability with the tort feasor and his employer, if applicable.

The licensee is liable for compensation for pollution damage without regard for blame. Otherwise, the rules in Chapter 8 of the Pollution Control Act shall apply insofar as they are appropriate.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 9-6. Compulsory fines

To ensure that the provisions in the Act or individual decisions made in pursuance of the Act are carried out, the Ministry can make decisions regarding compulsory fines.

The compulsory fine can be stipulated when a violation of the Act or a decision is detected and starts to run, if the responsible party exceeds the deadline for rectifying the matter. If special reasons so indicate, a compulsory fine can be stipulated in advance, and will run as from when a potential violation commences.

The Ministry can issue regulations regarding compulsory fines, such as the size and duration of the compulsory fine, stipulation of compulsory fines and waiver of accrued compulsory fines.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 9-7. Fine for violations

The Ministry can order the party that has violated provisions laid down in the Act, to pay a fine for violation to the Treasury. Physical persons can only be subject to fines for violations for deliberate or negligent violations. An enterprise cannot be subject to fines for violations if the violation is due to circumstances beyond the enterprise’s control.

The Ministry can issue regulations relating to fines for violations, such as regarding criteria for imposing fines, size of the fine, interest and additional fines if the fine for violation is not paid by the due date, and waiver of imposed fines.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 9-8. Temporary suspension of activity

If a licensee does not comply with an order concerning measures issued in or in pursuance of the Act, the Ministry can demand temporary suspension of the activity.

The Ministry can enact temporary suspension of the activity if this is necessary to avert imminent danger.

The licensee may be obliged to cover expenses required to suspend the activity. A claim for coverage of such expenses is a basis for enforcement of debt.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 9-9. Amendment and recall of licence, etc.

The Ministry can repeal, withdraw, amend the terms in or set new terms for a licence pursuant to this Act or a regulation issued in accordance with the Act if

a) there is a gross or repeated violation of provisions laid down in or in pursuance of this Act

b) the licensee does not comply with an order to correct or suspend the issue that is in conflict with provisions laid down in or in pursuance of this Act or decisions made in accordance with this Act

c) the licence is issued on the basis of incorrect or incomplete information regarding circumstances of significance

d) significant preconditions that formed the basis for the licence have lapsed

e) The guarantee the licensee is obliged to furnish pursuant to Section 9-2 is substantially impaired, or the company or group that holds the license is dissolved or is taken under creditor composition or bankruptcy proceedings.

An amendment or recall of a licence pursuant to the first subsection can be made temporary. Temporary amendments or recalls can be stipulated based on rectification or change of specific factors.

In decisions under this subsection, consideration shall be given to the financial loss and the disadvantages that must be expected that an amendment or a recall will inflict upon the holder of the licence, and the advantages and disadvantages that the amendment or the recall will entail overall.

The Ministry can issue regulations regarding amendment and recall of licences.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 9-10. Consequences of recall, surrender of rights or lapse for other reasons

A recall of a licence, surrender of rights or lapse of rights for other reasons does not constitute a release from the financial obligations that follow from this Act, regulations issued in pursuance of the Act or individual decisions with special conditions stipulated pursuant to the Act. If a work commitment or other obligation is not fulfilled, the Ministry can claim payment, in full or in part, of the amount that fulfilling the commitment would have cost. The amount is stipulated with binding effect by the Ministry.

If a licence that is linked to an established facility is withdrawn, a deadline must be set to ensure that the facility is taken over by a party that can lawfully conduct the activity.

If a production licence is withdrawn, the Ministry can announce the production licence to obtain applications from other interested parties, or order a deadline for transfer. In the event of announcement, the rules in Chapter 4 for processing applications shall apply insofar as they are appropriate.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 9-11. Reporting requirements and data collection, etc.

The Ministry can demand that material and information that a licensee, operator, contractor or subcontractor has or prepares in relation to planning and implementing mineral activities pursuant to this Act, must be available in Norway. The Ministry can also require that this be handed over to the Ministry or the party designated by the Ministry, free of charge. The handover shall take place in the format determined by the Ministry, to the extent found reasonable.

The licensee shall, free of charge, send samples of the minerals extracted from the seabed to the Ministry or the party designated by the Ministry. The Ministry can issue regulations or make individual decisions to the effect that equivalent rules shall apply for biological material. The State will assume ownership rights to the submitted material.

The licensee shall send the following material, free of charge, to the Ministry, or the party designated by the Ministry

a) reports from surveys as soon as they are available, and no later than three months after the surveys are concluded

b) copies of data, samples and results from interpretation of samples

c) information regarding extraction of minerals, the volume extracted, and a description of the mineral content

d) information regarding resale of minerals and the sales value.

The Ministry can issue regulations regarding which material must be available to the authorities, what must be handed over, when the material must be available or handed over, at the latest, and which information shall be provided to public authorities before the mineral activity begins, and after it is under way.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 9-12. Duty of confidentiality

The Ministry can issue regulations or make individual decisions to the effect that anyone who performs services or work for an administrative body, is obliged to prevent others from gaining access to or knowledge of what he may learn in connection with the service or the work as regards geological conditions in material or in information as mentioned in Section 9-11, second and third subsections, and can stipulate the duration of such a duty of confidentiality.

The Ministry can issue regulations or make individual decisions to the effect that information of any kind that is reported to the authorities in connection with an application for a production licence shall be subject to a duty of confidentiality and the duration of such a duty of confidentiality.

Regulations or individual decisions laid down in pursuance of this Section shall not prevent the Ministry from making general statements regarding the activity and the possibility of finding mineral deposits, or for use in preparation of general maps, or for statistical purposes. Such regulations or individual decisions shall also not prevent the exchange of information as presumed in Act No. 15 of 3 June 1994 relating to the Central Coordinating Register of Legal Entities and Act No. 35 of 6 June 1997 relating to the Register of Reporting Obligations of Enterprises or other mandatory exchange of information with public agencies.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 9-13. Right of access, etc.

The rules in Section 18, first subsection of the Public Administration Act regarding a party’s right to acquaint himself with documents in the case does not apply in cases relating to applications for production licences under this Act.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 9-14. Penal provisions

Wilful or negligent violation of provisions, orders, prohibitions or terms issued in or pursuant to Sections 1-6, 4-16, 5-1, 5-3, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 or 6-4 are penalised with fines or imprisonment for up to two years, unless the violation falls under a stricter penal clause.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 9-15. Information regarding payments

The Ministry can issue regulations requiring licensees and administrative agencies to provide information regarding payments to or from the State in connection with the mineral activity. Administrative agencies can be ordered to provide such information without impediment due to the duty of confidentiality. The information can be published both by the provider and the recipient of the information.

Effective 1 July 2019.

 

Chapter 10. Special rules for deposits of shell sand, sand and gravel in areas near the coast

Section 10-1. Adjustments for deposits near the coast

The King can issue regulations as regards the degree to which the provisions of the Act shall apply for surveys and production of deposits of shell sand, sand and gravel in the area from the submarine shelf and out to one nautical mile from the baselines. This can also include exemptions from the Act.

Effective 1 July 2019.

Section 10-2. County authority’ competence

The county authority can award licences for surveys or production of shell sand, sand and gravel in the area mentioned in Section 10-1.

Effective 1 July 2019.

 

Chapter 11. Entry into force and amendment of other statutes

Section 11-1. Entry into force, etc.

This Act enters into force as from the date1 determined by the King.

For licences awarded before this Act enters into force, the Act shall apply to the extent the provisions are not in conflict with the already awarded licence.

1 From 1 July 2019 according to Resolution No. 264 of 22 March 2019.

Section 11-2.
Amendments in other statutes

As from the date when this Act enters into force, the following amendments are made in other statutes:

I

The following amendments shall be made to Act No. 12 of 21 June 1963 relating to scientific research and exploration for and exploitation of subsea natural resources:

The title of the Act shall be:

Act relating to scientific research and exploration for and exploitation of other subsea natural resources than petroleum deposits and mineral deposits.

Section 1, first and second subsections shall read:

This Act relates to scientific research of the seabed and the underlying subsurface and surveys for and exploitation of other subsea natural resources than petroleum deposits and mineral deposits in Norwegian internal waters, in Norwegian territorial waters and on the Continental Shelf.

The Continental Shelf means the seabed and the subsurface in the subsea areas that extend beyond Norwegian territorial waters through the entire natural extension of the land territory to the outer edge of the continental margin, but not less than 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the width of the territorial waters is measured, but not beyond the median line in relation to another state, unless other rules follow from international law for continental shelves outside 200 nautical miles from the baselines, or from a treaty with the relevant state.

The King can issue regulations regarding activity that is covered by this Act.

The current Section 1, second and third subsections, will become the third and new fourth subsections.

Section 2, third subsection is repealed.

Section 3 shall read:

Section 3. All scientific research of the seabed and the underlying subsurface requires a licence from the Ministry or the party designated by the Ministry. Specific terms can be set for such licences.

II

In Act No. 83 of 21 June 1985 concerning unlimited liability partnerships and limited partnerships, Section 1-1, fourth subsection shall read:

This Act does not apply to shipping partnerships under Chapter 5 of the Maritime Act. Nor does it apply to cooperation agreements relating to licences issued under Section 4-3 of Act No. 72 of 29 November 1996 relating to petroleum activities and cooperation agreements with legal basis in the Act’s Section 3-3 (4) and Section 4-7, cf. Section 4-3, and comparable agreements entered into before the Petroleum Act entered into force or cooperation agreements linked to licences issued pursuant to Sections 3-1 and 4-1, cf. Section 4-7 of the Subsea Minerals Act.

III

In Act No. 101 of 19 June 2009 relating to the acquisition and extraction of mineral resources, Section 4 shall read:

Section 4.  Geographical scope

The Act applies on Norwegian territory, with the exception of Svalbard.

At sea, the Act does not apply outside the boundaries of private property. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Act applies for activities with the objective of extracting mineral deposits from entry points on land, but where the mineral deposit extends out under the seabed.

 

Updated: 26/10/2020