The Norwegian continental shelf is interesting in several ways, also for purposes other than petroleum production. Norwegian and foreign research institutions conduct research every year where they collect geological and geophysical data.
The right to conduct scientific research on the continental shelf for other states is specified in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, as well as in dedicated Norwegian legislation (see links in right margin). Due to its familiarity with the shelf, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate is tasked with processing these applications.
In addition to making our own assessments, we submit the applications for consultation with other relevant public stakeholders. Everyone who wants to conduct scientific research on the Norwegian shelf must submit separate applications for each survey.
Application for scientific research
Foreign institutions submit their applications for scientific research in Norwegian waters to the Directorate of Fisheries. Applications found to concern the shelf (seabed or subsurface) are then forwarded to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate for processing. Issued permits are sent back to the applicant via the Directorate of Fisheries.
Applications from Norwegian institutions are submitted directly to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate. The processing directorate must receive the final report and a copy of relevant data and results from the expedition. Some information about these expeditions is available on the Directorate of Fisheries' website.
Overview of permits
Here you can find an overview of scientific research permits (Norwegian only) issued by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate during the 2004–2020 period. It shows which institutions have been issued permits, what kind of research has been conducted and where it was carried out.
As regards previous years, equivalent overviews can be found in the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate's annual reports, which were published on paper through 2003.
Please contact us if you are interested in paper or PDF versions of these reports.