OSLO, Norway – The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has offered 12 production licenses to a total of 11 companies under Norway’s 24th licensing round.
Three of the licenses are in the Norwegian Sea and nine in theBarents Sea.
Torgeir Stordal, exploration director at the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, said: “Two of the new licenses are located in deepwater, in the western part of the Norwegian Sea. It is encouraging that the industry wants to explore these frontier areas of the shelf.”
He was also encouraged by the interest in acreage in the eastern part of the Norwegian Sea: “If discoveries are made, this area can contribute important additional resources to the existing infrastructure.”
The nine Barents Sea licenses are in little explored areas, while two are additional acreage to existing production licenses.
“Our analyses show that the largest undiscovered resource potential on the Norwegian continental shelf is in the Barents Sea. We also believe that this is the area on the shelf most likely to deliver large discoveries,” Stordal said.
Equinor gained shares of seven licenses, five as operator.
“We have a clear ambition of maintaining profitable production at today’s level on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) until 2030 and beyond. It is therefore crucial that we are awarded new exploration acreage beyond already opened areas,” said Arne Sigve Nylund, executive vice president for Development and Production Norway.
The award includes a commitment well in the southwestern part of the Barents Sea, and a deepwater license in a frontier part of the Vøring basin in the Norwegian Sea.
“Exploration on the Norwegian continental shelf is becoming ever more challenging,” said the company’s NCS exploration head Nicholas Ashton.
“It is important to Norway and the companies to map remaining commercial resources both in the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea. We see the need for testing new exploration models and that is what we aim for in these licenses…
“We have built on our 40-year history in north Norway and our long exploration experience from the Barents Sea. We therefore want to clarify the potential in the western margin of the Barents Sea and in the Hoop area aroundWisting.”
Unlike the 23rd round, most of the awards are on less mature acreage and therefore require more work to determine drilling candidates. Equinor plans to acquire and interpret data before discussing exploration possibilities with its partners.
Equinor’s awards are as follows:
- 100% share and operator for PL957 (blocks 6201/6 and 6202/4)
- 50% share and operator for PL959 (blocks 6503/8, 11, 12 and 6504/10, 11)
- 40% share and operator for PL960 (blocks 7018/4, 5)
- 50% share and operator for PL961 (blocks 7116/6 and 7117/4, 5)
- 70% share and operator for PL966 (blocks 7325/2, 3, 6, 8, 9 and 7326/4, 7, 8, 9 and 7327/7, 8 and 7426/10, 11)
- 30% share and partner for PL963 (blocks 7422/10, 11) - Aker BP is the operator
- 35% share and partner for PL537B (block 7324/4) - OMV is the operator
Lundin Norway secured positions in three licenses in the southern Barents Sea, one as operator. All are close to concessions the company already holds, with PLs 962 and 965 (operated) in the Fingerdjupet sub-basin/Hoop area close to PL722/PL853, and PL960 in the Harstad basin in the southwestern Barents Sea, close to PL695.