Norwegian E&P companies outline latest license awards

Jan. 19, 2021
The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has awarded 30 companies interests in 61 production licenses, under Norway’s Awards in Predefined Areas 2020 license round.

Offshore staff

OSLO, Norway – The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has awarded 30 companies interests in 61 production licenses, under Norway’s Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) 2020 license round.

Eighteen companies will be offered one or more operatorships. Bids for acreage came in from a total of 33 companies.

“This year’s award…shows that the petroleum industry still has significant expectations of making profitable discoveries on the Norwegian shelf,” said Kalmar Ildstad, director license management at the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.

“It’s positive that the companies are showing significant interest in exploring in areas with known geology, and close to existing infrastructure.”

Thirty-four of the licenses are in the North Sea, 24 in the Norwegian Sea, and three in the Barents Sea. Twelve cover acreage additional to existing production concessions.

Equinor gained 17 new licenses, including 10 as operator. The company’s haul comprises eight North Sea licenses and nine in the Norwegian Sea.

Of the other major players on the shelf, Vår Energi picked up 10 new licenses, five as operator. These will strengthen the company’s position around key hubs and in other attractive areas, said Vår Energi CEO Kristin F. Kragseth.

Vår’s line-up is:

  • North Sea: PL 1090 (op), PL 1096 (op)
  • Norwegian Sea: PL 1122, PL 1120, PL 1117, PL 1121, PL 1114
  • Barents Sea: PL 1132 (op), PL 229 G (op), PL 1131 (op).

Aker BP was offered operatorships for eight of its 10 new licenses – seven in the North Sea, and one in the Norwegian Sea. 

Lundin Energy secured 19 exploration license interests: 15 in the North Sea, two in the Norwegian Sea, and two in the southern Barents Sea. It will operate seven of these.

Neptune Energy, a growing force in Norwegian offshore E&P, netted four licenses in the North Sea and two in the Norwegian Sea, all close to existing infrastructure where the company has a presence. Its list comprises:

North Sea:
 • PL1096 (20%, partner) 
 • PL1105S (50%, operator) 
 • PL1107 (40%, operator) 
 • PL1110 (30%, partner 

Norwegian Sea: 
 • PL1112 (20%, partner) 
 • PL1113 (40%, operator) 

Director of Subsurface in Norway, Steinar Meland, said: “It’s especially exciting to have been awarded license PL1107 close to Dugong, where we made one of last year’s largest discoveries and where we within a few weeks’ time will drill an additional appraisal well.” 

Wintershall Dea was offered interests in 16 licenses, four as operator – almost double what the company received under the previous APA round.

Most are in core areas for the company, within tieback distance of existing infrastructure and therefore allowing for quick value creation with potential discoveries.

But other licenses are in less mature areas where high-impact discoveries could lead to development of new facilities.

Wintershall Dea has scheduled at least seven exploration and appraisal wells offshore Norway, and said the new interests would provide it with options for 2022 and beyond.

It also plans to apply new ideas to areas that have been offered several times in previous license rounds, a strategy that paid off with the company’s recent Bergknapp, Busta, and Iving discoveries.

OKEA gained six new licenses, four operated and two as partner to operators DNO and Wintershall Dea.

In the Norwegian Sea the acreage includes the Falk, Cortina and Spinell Sør discoveries, with opportunities for further exploration and field development – some close to the OKEA-operated Draugen field.

In the northern North Sea, PL1108 is between the producing Gjøa field, where OKEA is a partner, and the company’s operated Aurora discovery.

Two of the licenses have a drill or drop decision in early 2022. The others have a two-year initial work program.

Pandion Energy’s awards are as follows:

  • PL 1108 in block 35/9 (30%) is on the Måløy slope, west of the Gjøa field and northeast of Nova.
  • PL 1119 in blocks 6406/2, 3, 5 and 6 (20%) is in the central part of the Halten Terrace, adjacent to the Tyrihans Sør, Trestakk and Lavrans fields, and numerous other discoveries.
  • PL 263 F (20%) is additional acreage to PL 263 D/E in the Norwegian Sea, where there was a minor gas discovery last November through well 6407/1-8 S.
  • PL 820 SB is additional acreage to PL 820 S in the central North Sea, northwest of the Balder and Ringhorne fields. In March 2020, oil and gas were discovered via well 25/8-19 S, including two side tracks.
  • PL 891 B, also additional acreage to PL 891in the central Norwegian Sea, north of Heidrun, containing last month’s 75-200 MMboe Slagugle discovery.

Petrolia NOCO was awarded three licenses: two in the northern North Sea (PLs 1106 and 1107) as a partners, and one in the Norwegian Sea as operator (PL 1013 B 60%).

The award strengthens the company’s position in the Tampen Hub, where it holds 20% of the Dugong discovery (PL 882), and where more exploration drilling is planned in 2021, including the Dugong Tail exploration well and Dugong appraisal well.

DNO Norge was awarded operatorship of four licenses and interest in six others. Six of the 10 are on the North Sea and four in the Norwegian Sea.

The full list of APA 2020 awards is as follows:

(Number of licenses /operatorships)

Aker BP (10/8)

AS Norske Shell (1/1)

Chrysaor (6/3)

Concedo (1/0)

ConocoPhillips (4/3)

DNO (10/4)

Edison (2/0)

Equinor (17/10)

INEOS (4/1)

Inpex (2/1)

Kufpec (1/0)

Lime (4/0)

Lotos (3/0)

Lundin (19/7)

MOL (1/1)

M Vest (2/0)

Neptune (6/3)

OKEA (6/4)

OMV (3/3)

ONE Dyas (6/0)

Pandion (5/0)

Petrolia NOCO (3/1)

PGNiG (4/0)

Source (4/0)

Spirit (3/0)

Sval (5/1)

Total (3/0)

Vår Energi (10/5)

Wellesley (2/1)

Wintershall Dea (16/4).