Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum & Energy has awarded a record number, 83, of production licences in the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea under the country’s latest Awards in Pre-defined Areas (APA) exploration round.
The APA 2018 licensing round comprises blocks in predefined areas and a total of 83 licenses were distributed over the North Sea (37), the Norwegian Sea (32) and the Barents Sea (14). 33 different oil companies, ranging from the large international majors down to smaller domestic exploration companies, are awarded ownership interests in one or more production licenses. 21 of these companies were offered operatorship.
"This is the largest licensing award on the Norwegian continental shelf. 53 years after the first licensing round, this new record confirms the industry's belief in continued value creation and activity in Norway," said Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Mr. Kjell-Børge Freiberg (FrP).
Jamie Thompson, an analyst on Wood Mackenzie’s Europe upstream team, said: “It’s undoubtedly positive to see so many licence awards and active companies in this year’s APA. But the proof is in the work commitments, and those left something to be desired, with the number of wells down from five to three on last year.”
He added: “Local players are certainly leading the way once more. The usual suspects Equinor, Aker BP, and Lundin dominate operatorships in the Barents. But perhaps more surprisingly, DNO — hot off the back of its Faroe Petroleum acquisition — makes headway with 26 new licences, seven of which are operated.
Equinor has been awarded 29 new licences part of the APA for 2018 – 13 licences as operator and 16 as partner. 7 of the licences are in the North Sea, 16 in the Norwegian Sea and 6 in the Barents Sea.
“The APA rounds are important for Equinor to maintain exploration activity and replenish our portfolio on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS). We are pleased with this significant addition of opportunities to our exploration portfolio,” says Nick Ashton, senior vice president for exploration in Norway and the UK.
DNO said it was awarded participation in 18 exploration licenses, of which five are operatorships. Of the 18 licenses, nine are in the North Sea, two in the Norwegian Sea and seven in the Barents Sea.
Lundin Petroleum said it was awarded a total of 15 exploration licence interests in the APA 2018. The record-high award includes 8 licences in the North Sea, 2 licences in the Norwegian Sea and 5 licences in the southern Barents Sea. 9 of the awarded licences will be operated by Lundin Norway.
The awards from this licensing round builds on the firm’s existing six core areas and will support starting to build a new position in the Norwegian North Sea close to the Horda platform area.
Aker BP has been offered interests in 21 new production licenses in Norway, of which 11 as operator, through the Awards in pre-defined areas (APA 2018) licensing round.
“These awards increase Aker BP’s footprint in areas close to our operated hubs. We have also identified new potential growth opportunities in some of the licenses awarded today. Combined with creativity, a highly skilled exploration team and the adoption of new technologies, these awards will enable us to explore new potential core areas for Aker BP,” said Glørstad-Clark.
Of the 21 production licenses awarded to Aker BP, 12 are located in the North Sea (5 as operator), 3 in the Norwegian Sea (2 as operator) and 6 in the Barents Sea (4 as operator).
Germany’s Wintershall has announced that it has secured shares in six promising new exploration licenses, strengthening its position in core areas on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The company received shares in four licenses in the Norwegian Sea, and two in the North Sea. It will be operator in two of these.
“Norway will be an even more important growth region for us – once the merger with DEA is closed. The Norwegian shelf will become – after Russia – by far the largest production location for Wintershall DEA. With now more than 100 licenses and shares in 20 producing fields, we could increase our joint production in Norway to over 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the near future”, said Martin Bachmann, the Wintershall Executive Board member responsible for exploration and production in Europe and the Middle East.
Germany’s DEA was awarded nine new licences in Norway. Four of the awarded licences are located in the Norwegian Sea, three in the North Sea and two in the Barents Sea. DEA will be operator in three of the licences.
DEA Norge’s Exploration Manager Svend Erik Pettersson is said: “The awarded licences are located in our core areas on the NCS. These awards demonstrate that DEA sees potential in Norway, and that the company wants to continue the high activity level on the NCS. We are very pleased with these awards and the partnerships.”