Companies react to latest offshore Norway license awards

Norway’s Energy and Petroleum Ministry has offered 75 new offshore production licenses, a record for the country’s annual Awards in Pre-defined Areas process.

Offshore staff

OSLO, NorwayNorway’s Energy and Petroleum Ministry has offered 75 new offshore production licenses, a record for the country’s annual Awards in Pre-defined Areas (APA) process.

The number of applications submitted forAPA 2017 also constituted a new high.

Forty-five of the licenses are in the North Sea, 22 in the Norwegian Sea, and eight in the Barents Sea.

Twenty-two licenses are additional acreage to existing production licenses, while three more are divided stratigraphically, only relating to levels below/above a defined stratigraphic border.

“It is positive that the companies are showing so much interest in exploring in the mature areas on the Norwegian shelf, where it is still possible to exploit existing infrastructure,” said Wenche Tjelta Johansen, assistant director responsible for exploration at the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD).

“We see that the companies have identified new plays based on new seismic, and new technology. That is exciting,” he added.

Of the 39 companies that applied, 34 will be offered ownership interests in at least one production license.

Statoil has secured interests in 31 licenses, 17 as operator and 14 as a partner.

The offer includes three commitment wells - two in the North Sea and one in the Norwegian Sea. In PL921 the company will test the Gladsheim prospect to determine whether oil may have moved eastward from the Troll area.

In PL942 in the Norwegian Sea, the well on the Ørn prospect will pursue further tieback resources to the Norne complex. Statoil will also participate in Aker BP’s well on PL916 in the Utsira High in the North Sea.

“We will this year drill or participate in between 25-30 exploration wells on the Norwegian continental shelf. This is an increase from the 19 we operated or participated in in 2017,” said Jez Averty, Statoil’s svp for exploration in Norway and the UK.

Aker BP has been offered interests in 23 licenses, 14 as operator.

“We are very pleased with these awards, which support Aker BP’s growth strategy by giving access to attractive exploration opportunities both around existing production hubs as well as in new prospective areas, said svp Exploration, Gro G. Haatvedt.

“We would also like to emphasize that access to new exploration acreage is vital in order to maximize the long-term value creation from the petroleum activity on the Norwegian continental shelf.”

Fifteen of Aker BP’s awards are in the North Sea (11 as operator), three in the Norwegian Sea (two as operator) and five in the Barents Sea (one as operator).

Lundin Norway picked up interests in six licenses in the North Sea, four in the Norwegian Sea and four in the southern Barents Sea. It will operate in six cases.


Lundin Norway interest

PL904 (blocks 2/9, 3/7):
PL167C (block 16/1):
PL914S (Ivar Aasen unit)(block 16/1):
PL916 (blocks 16/2, 25/11):
PL917 (blocks 25/7, 10):
PL919 (block 25/4):
PL934 (blocks 6307/2, 5)*:
PL935 (block 6306/3):
PL936 (blocks 6306/2, 5):
PL886B (blocks 6307/1, 4)*:
PL950 (blocks 7020/1, 2, 7120/11)*:
PL952 (blocks 7124/5,6,8,9, 7125/4,5,6,7)*:
PL954 (blocks 7121/1,2,3, 7221/10, 11)*:
PL533B (block 7219/11)*:

20% - North Sea
20% - North Sea
1.385% - North Sea
20% - North Sea
20% - North Sea
15% - North Sea
40% - Norwegian Sea
20% - Norwegian Sea
30% - Norwegian Sea
40% - Norwegian Sea
50% - Southern Barents Sea
60% - Southern Barents Sea
40% - Southern Barents Sea
35% - Southern Barents Sea

For Japan’s INPEX Norge, PL950 will be the company’s second license in the Barents Sea.

The location is around 70 km (43 mi) offshore and covers around 190 sq km (73 sq mi) in water depths of 130-200 m (426-656 ft).

Wintershall gained shares in six concessions, three as operator. Four are in the North Sea, one in the extended Aasta Hansteen area of the Norwegian Sea, and one in the Barents Sea.

All are in Wintershall core areas, the company added.

DEA, which is in discussions with Wintershall concerning a merger, secured the following:

North Sea: PL 929 (20%), PL 153C, (8%)

Norwegian Sea PL 832B (15%), PL 937 (30%)

Barents Sea PL 533B (30%).

DEA’s exploration manager Svend Erik Pettersson said: “We got the areas that we ranked as most interesting. Although the areas are mature, we see great potential.”

Spirit Energy, the company formed from the merger of Centrica and Bayerngas’ E&P interests, won operatorship of three new licenses.

The company plans to drill four exploration wells offshore Norway during 2018.

VNG Norge, which recently submitted a plan for the Fenja subsea tieback to the Njord complex, will operate two new licenses and partner in six others:

PL 938:
VNG 40% (Operator)
ConocoPhillips 20%
Point 20%

PL 936:
VNG 40% (Operator)
Lundin 30%
Petrolia 30%

PL 922:
Spirit 40%
VNG 20%
DNO 20%
Maersk 20%

PL 920:
OMV 60%
VNG 40%

PL 934:
Lundin 40%
Statoil 20%
VNG 20%

PL 935:
Petoro 20%
ConocoPhillips 40%
VNG 20%
Lundin 20%
Petoro 20%

PL 886B:
Lundin 40%
VNG 20%
Spirit 20%
Petoro 20%

PL 914S (Ivar Aasen Unit):
Aker BP 34,7862%
Statoil 41,473%
Spirit 12,3173%
OKEA 0,554%
Wintershall 6,4615%
Lundin 1,385%
VNG 3,023%

Faroe Petroleum gained eight licenses. The details and work programs for the four operated concessions are as follows:

PL926 Blue Libelle – blocks 33/9, 33/12 and 34/10. Blue Libelle is on the Tampen Spur on the north-western margin of the North Viking Graben. This is a structural prospect in Mid- Jurassic sandstones between the producing Statfjord and Gulfaks fields. There are commitments to acquire and/or reprocess 3D seismic data, with a drill-or-drop decision by February 2020.

PL006E SE Tor Extension – block 2/5. This license contains a portion of the Paleocene Gomex exploration target which extends outside the existing SE Tor license. Same work commitments as for the existing PL006C SE Tor.

PL810B Katie Extension – blocks 2/1 and 8/10. Contains the north-eastward extension of the Katie prospect on the eastern side of Spirit Energy’s Oda development. Work program the same as the existing PL810 Katie license, namely seismic reprocessing with a drill-or-drop decision by February 2019.

PL740C Brasse North Extension – blocks 31/4. Contains the northward extension of the Brasse Extension on the eastern side of the Brage field. Same work program as for the existing PL740/B Brasse license.

DNO Norge will participate in seven North Sea licenses, one in the Norwegian Sea and two in the Barents Sea:

PL 921: Statoil Petroleum AS (operator), Petoro AS, DNO Norge AS (30%)

PL 922: Spirit Energy Norge AS (operator), Maersk Oil Norway AS, VNG Norge AS, DNO Norge AS (20%)

PL 923: Statoil Petroleum AS (operator), Petoro AS, Wellesley Petroleum AS, DNO Norge AS (20%)

PL 924: Statoil Petroleum AS (operator), DNO Norge AS (30%)

PL 926: Faroe Petroleum Norge AS (operator), Concedo ASA, DNO Norge AS (30%)

PL 929: ENGIE E&P Norge AS (operator), DEA Norge AS, Pandion Energy AS, DNO Norge AS (20%)

PL 931: Wellesley Petroleum AS (operator), DNO Norge AS (40%)

PL 943: Statoil Petroleum AS (operator), Capricorn Norge AS, DNO Norge AS (30%)

PL 951: Aker BP ASA (operator), Eni Norge AS, Concedo ASA, DNO Norge AS (20%)

PL 953: Wintershall Norge AS (operator), Concedo ASA, DNO Norge AS (30%)

Wellesley Petroleum will participate in seven licenses, including three firm well commitments. The company will operate two of the licenses, with two of the firm well commitments being in PL925.

Chris Elliott, CEO of the Wellesley Group of companies, commented: “We will now aim to work with our JV partners, suppliers, and the relevant authorities to execute the firm well programs and in other licenses move the highest ranked opportunities towards drilling.”

The full list of awards is as follows.


A/S Norske Shell (2)
Aker BP (14)
ConocoPhillips (4)
Faroe Petroleum (4)
Lundin (6)
MOL (2)
OMV (3)
Petrolia (1)
Point (2)
Repsol (2)
Spirit (3)
Statoil (17)
Suncor (2)
Total (3)
VNG (2)
Wellesley (2)
Wintershall (3)

Offer to 34 licensees (number of shares - including operatorships- in brackets)

A/S Norske Shell (4)
Aker BP  (23)
Capricorn  (4)
Concedo  (5)
ConocoPhillips (7)
DEA  (5)
DNO  (10)
ENGIE  (4)
Eni  (4)
ExxonMobil  (2)
Faroe  (8)
Idemitsu  (1)
INEOS  (1)
INPEX  (1)
Lime  (1)
LOTOS  (2)
Lundin  (14)
Maersk  (3)
MOL  (3)
OKEA  (2)
OMV  (5)
Pandion  (2)
Petrolia  (4)
PGNiG  (2)
Point  (10)
Repsol  (3)
Skagen44  (1)
Spirit  (11)
Statoil  (31)
Suncor  (5)
Total  (3)
VNG  (8)
Wellesley  (7)
Wintershall  (6)


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