Norway issues latest batch of offshore licenses

Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has awarded 51 new offshore production licenses to 40 companies.

Offshore staff

OSLO, Norway – Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has awarded 51 new offshore production licenses to 40 companies.

Forty-seven companies applied for acreage under theAwards in Pre-defined Areas (APA) 2012, which covered 196,625 sq km (75,917 sq mi), an increase of 10,325 sq km (3,986 sq mi) over the previous APA offering.

Thirty-four of the new concessions are in the North Sea, 14 in the Norwegian Sea, and three in the Barents Sea. Fifteen of the permits are add-ons to existing production licenses, and another two are divided stratigraphically.

Twenty-three of the successful bidders will be offered operatorships. Petoro will hold shares in 17 of the licenses as manager of the State’s Direct Financial Interest.

“Interest in available acreage in this year’s APA was record-high, with the greatest interest in the North Sea and significant competition for some areas,” said Sissel Eriksen, NPD exploration director. “Some players have submitted very interesting concepts.”

There is a requirement for acquisition of new seismic data in eight areas, with drill-or-drop conditions within one to three years on other licenses.

A few companies have issued details of their awards. Statoil has gained interests in 14 production licenses. These comprise eight in the northern Norwegian North Sea (five as operator) close to last year’s King Lear discovery; four in the Norwegian Sea (one as operator) near the Heidrun, Trestakk, and Ormen Lange fields; and two in the Barents Sea (one operated) in the Goliat area and on the Finnmark Platform.

Lundin Norway gained four licenses in the North Sea, two in the Norwegian Sea, and one in the Barents Sea. The interests are detailed below (* denotes operator status):

LicenseLundin Petroleum interest
PL203B (block 25/4)15% - Alvheim Area, North Sea
PL673 (block 16/1)60% - Greater Luno Area, North Sea
PL678S (blocks 26/1, 2, and 4, 31/10)20% - Northern Utsira High, North Sea
PL685 (blocks 34/6, 35/1 and 4)20% - Northern North Sea
PL694 (blocks 6607/4, 5 and 6)20% - Norwegian Sea
PL700 (blocks 6206/11 and 12)*40% - Norwegian Sea
PL695 (blocks 7018/3, and 6, 7019/1)*40% - Barents Sea

Norwegian Energy Co. was awarded a 40% operated share of license PL701 in the Norwegian Sea. This covers blocks 6406/9, 6406/11, 6406/12, southwest of the Njord field on the Halten Terrace. Noreco also gained 40% of PL591B covering block 6507/8, representing an extension of PL591.

GDF SUEZ picked up four interests ranging from 20%-30% in two licenses in the North Sea, covering blocks 36/4, 35/3, and 36/1; and in the Norwegian Sea (blocks 6406/9, 6406/11, 6406/12).

Bridge secured a 40% operated stake in block 6407/4 off mid-Norway, in partnership with Svenska Petroleum (30%) and Bayerngas (30%). The license is in an area close to the Mjøsa prospect, on which a well is due to be drilled this year. The work obligation includes reprocessing of 3D seismic and geological and geophysical assessments evaluations ahead of a drill-or-drop decision within two years.

Maersk Oil Norway was offered PL660 (25%, non-operated) and PL671 (60%, operated), both in the North Sea. PL660 covers the Norwegian part of the Edinburgh prospect, which extends into the UK sector. Maersk Oil UK was awarded a license covering the other side underBritain’s 27th licensing round. PL671 is on the Egersund basin in the North Sea, a new area for Maersk.

Faroe Petroleum gained stakes in eight new prospective exploration licenses. The company will operate three, two of which are PL676 S Firkløver – blocks 24/9, 24/12, and 25/7 in the North Sea, in partnership with Det norske oljeselskap, Total, and Petoro. There are structural closures in this area on the Viking graben with stratigraphic upside potential in Lower Cretaceous sands. The work program involves merging and reprocessing existing 3D surveys with a drill-or-drop decision in two years.

PL665 S Caramello – blocks 2/2, 2/3, and 3/1, in partnership with Agora Oil & Gas, Valiant Petroleum, and Centrica. This license is on the Sørvestlandet High in the Norwegian southern North Sea, with a primary play in the area in upper Jurassic Ula formation sandstones. Various prospects and leads have been identified, with secondary potential in Permian sandstones. The work program is to acquire new 3D seismic data with a drill-or-drop decision in two years.

Additionally, Faroe will join operator Centrica and Statoil on PL691 – block 6507/7 on the Halten Terrace, containing the Jurassic Manilow prospect.

The full list of companies awarded operatorships is as follows: (numbers in brackets)

Bayerngas Norge (1)
BG Norge (1)
Bridge Energy (1)
Dana Petroleum Norway (1)
Det norske oljeselskap (3)
DONG E&P Norge (1)
E.ON Ruhrgas Norge (4)
Edison International Norway Branch (1)
ENI Norge (1)
Faroe Petroleum Norge (3)
GDF Suez E&P Norge (2)
Lundin Norway (4)
Maersk Oil Norway (2)
OMV Norge (2)
PGNiG Norway (1)
Premier Oil Norge (1)
Rocksource (1)
RWE Dea Norge (2)
Spring Energy Norway (1)
Statoil Petroleum (8)
Suncor Energy Norge (2)
Talisman Energy Norge (2)
Total E&P Norge (5)
Valiant Petroleum Norge (1)
VNG Norge (4)
Wintershall Norge (4).


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