NCS licenses awarded to Equinor, Neptune and OKEA, among others

Jan. 11, 2023
The APA 2022 awards were announced by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy on Jan. 10. In total, 47 licenses were offered to a total of 25 companies.

Offshore staff

NORWAY  The Awards in Pre-Defined Areas (APA) were announced by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) on Jan. 10. In total, 47 licenses were offered to a total of 25 companies.

Offers have been made to the following companies (interests/operatorships):

  • Aker BP (17/9)
  • AS Norske Shell (1/0)
  • Concedo (1/0)
  • Conoco Phillips (2/1)
  • DNO (11/1)
  • Equinor (26/18)
  • Harbour (3/1)
  • INPEX-Idemitsu (3/0)
  • Kufpec (1/0)
  • Lime (2/0)
  • Longboat (3/0)
  • Lotos (1/0)
  • M West (1/0)
  • Neptune (2/1)
  • OKEA (4/2)
  • OMV (4/2)
  • Pandion (2/0)
  • Petrolia NOCO (1/1)
  • PGNiG (3/0)
  • Source (1/0)
  • Cool (4/0)
  • TotalEnergies (4/0)
  • Our Energy (12/5)
  • Wellesley (4/3)
  • Wintershall Dea (11/3)

OKEA ASA has been offered interests in four new production licenses on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS), two of which as operator. The company said the awards further strengthen its portfolio of near-field exploration opportunities around its Draugen, Brage and Gjøa production hubs. The company now has interests in more than 16 exploration-focused licenses.

The two new OKEA-operated licenses are located in the Norwegian Sea and the Northern North Sea, close to its operated Draugen and Brage assets. The third license, to be operated by Equinor, is located in the Norwegian Sea, west of Njord, while the fourth license, to be operated by Neptune Energy, is located in the Northern North Sea, south of Gjøa. 

Equinor has been awarded 26 new production licenses by the MPE18 licenses as operator and eight as partner. The production licenses are divided as 16 in the North Sea, nine in the Norwegian Sea and one in the Barents Sea.

In 2023 the company plans to participate in 25 exploration wells, most of them around existing infrastructure.

“Around 80% of the exploration wells will be drilled in known, mature areas. Discoveries near existing infrastructure require less volume to be commercially developed and can be quickly put onstream and with low CO2 emissions. We thus maximize the value creation from existing infrastructure that has been developed over a long period on the NCS,” said Jez Avery, Equinor’s senior vice president for subsurface in Exploration & Production Norway.

Neptune Energy has been awarded two new licenses located close to existing infrastructure in the Gjøa and Fram areas of the Norwegian North Sea, where Neptune already has a presence.

Neptune's awarded licenses are PL1180 (40% as operator) in the Gjøa area and PL1179 (15% as partner) in the Fram area.

Pandion Energy has been awarded PL 1180 in blocks 35/9,12 and 36/7,10 (located in the Greater Gjøa area in the North Sea). Pandion has been offered a 30% participating interest in PL 1180.

Pandion Energy also has been awarded PL 1149 B, which is additional acreage to PL 1149 located west of the Nova Field in the North Sea. Pandion Energy holds a 30% interest in the license.

Aker BP has been offered interests in 17 new production licenses offshore Norway, of which nine as operator, through the APA 2022 licensing round. Of the 17 production licenses awarded to Aker BP, 13 are located in the North Sea (six as operator) and four in the Norwegian Sea (three as operator). 

DNO ASA's wholly owned subsidiary DNO Norge AS has been awarded participation in 11 exploration licenses, of which one is an operatorship. Of the 11 new licenses, nine are in the North Sea and two in the Norwegian Sea.

At year-end 2022, DNO held interests in 69 licenses offshore Norway, of which 16 were operated by the company.

The new DNO awards under the APA 2022 licensing round include:

  • PL 248 K: Wintershall Dea Norge AS, Petoro AS, DNO Norge AS (20%)
  • PL 293 CS: Equinor Energy AS (operator), DNO Norge AS (29%), INPEX Idemitsu Norge AS, Longboat Energy Norge AS
  • PL 827 SB: Equinor Energy AS (operator), DNO Norge AS (49%)
  • PL 1146 B: ConocoPhillips Skandinavia AS (operator), DNO Norge AS (25%)
  • PL 1148 B: Wellesley Petroleum AS (operator), DNO Norge AS (30%), Aker BP ASA, Equinor Energy AS
  • PL 1171: Aker BP ASA (operator), DNO Norge AS (50%)
  • PL 1172: Aker BP ASA (operator), DNO Norge AS (30%), PGNiG Upstream Norway AS
  • PL 1175: Aker BP ASA (operator), DNO Norge AS (30%), Lotos Exploration and Production Norge AS
  • PL 1182 S: DNO Norge AS (operator, 40%), Aker BP ASA, Longboat Energy Norge AS
  • PL 1186: Equinor Energy AS (operator), DNO Norge AS (20%), OKEA ASA, Wintershall Dea Norge AS
  • PL 1187: OKEA ASA (operator), DNO Norge AS (30%), Wintershall Dea Norge AS, M Vest Energy AS

Wintershall Dea has been awarded 11 exploration licenses in the annual Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) licensing round in Norway, including three as operator. The APA 2022 awards, which include five new licenses and six area extensions, are all located in mature areas of the Norwegian Shelf where Wintershall Dea has an existing acreage position. 

Of the four awarded licenses in the North Sea, two (both operated) are located close to Wintershall Dea’s own operated Vega and Nova fields. The seven other new licenses are located in the Norwegian Sea, where Wintershall Dea operates the Maria and Dvalin fields.

Longboat Energy has also been awarded new licenses under the Norwegian 2022 APA Licensing Round.

License 1182 S (Longboat 30%) lies in the Norwegian North Sea, 4km southeast of the company’s recent significant Kveikje discovery where Longboat is a 10% equity partner. The license will be operated by DNO Norge AS (40%), with partner Aker BP (30%).

"If successful, Lotus is very likely to form part of an area cluster development together with Kveikje, and potentially several other recent discoveries in the area, through infrastructure associated with the nearby giant Troll field," Longboat stated in a press release. "The license award will increase the attractiveness of Longboat’s existing position in Kveikje."

Additionally, the PL1100 group has been granted license PL1100C (Longboat 20%) containing Oswig South, a potential southerly extension of the recent Oswig gas-condensate discovery. The Oswig South prospect is located at a shallower depth than Oswig, and is therefore expected to have better reservoir quality, the company said. The other partners in PL1100C are OMV (Norge) AS (40%, operator), Wintershall DEA Norge AS (20%) and Source Energy AS (20%).

Moreover, the Kveikje discovery partner group (Longboat 10%) has successfully been granted two additional extension areas to the original license covering the upside potential of the high-quality oil discovery announced in April 2022. Partners in license PL293 CS are Equinor Energy (51%, operator), DNO Norge AS (29%), INPEX Idemitsu Norge AS (10%) and Longboat Energy Norge (10%).

Eni, through Vår Energi, a listed company with Eni as major shareholder, has been awarded 12 new licenses, of which five as operator, the company announced Jan. 12 as a result APA 2022. The licenses are distributed over the three main oil and gas provinces in the NCS: North Sea: PL1173 (operator), PL1179, PL1185; PL 554E; Norwegian Sea: PL 1192 (operator), PL1002C (operator), PL1194, PL1188, PL134E, PL1189; Barents Sea: PL 1196 (operator), PL1197 (operator). The new exploration licenses are focused around Vår Energi key hubs but also includes high-impact licenses in possible new hub areas. Vår Energi has ownership in 148 licenses and 36 fields producing net 246,000 boe/d in 2021.

The APA licensing round is held once a year in mature areas on the NCS. View more details about the APA awards/licenses from MPE here.



Photo 9228681 © Trondur |
Rough seas hit a semisubmergible oil rig in the North Sea off the coast of Norway.
Photo 237030909 © Gregory Alekhin. |
Norway Map
Courtesy Norwegian Petroleum Directorate
Norwegian Petroleum Directorate illustrates PL838 in the Norwegian Sea, which is operated by Aker BP (35%), with partners PGNiG (35%) and Lime Petroleum (30%).