Norwegian oil and gas firm Equinor has been awarded 26 new production licenses by Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy Award in Predefined Areas.
In total, Norway has offered 28 companies ownership interests in a total of 53 offshore oil and gas production licenses on the Norwegian Shelf in the Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) 2021.
Equinor has secured 12 licenses as operator and 14 as a partner.
"Exploration is essential to secure continued value creation on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS). The APA rounds are very important to us and we are pleased about the award of new production licenses,” says Jez Averty, Equinor’s senior vice president for subsurface in Exploration & Production Norway.
Of the 26 production licenses awarded to Equinor 12 in the North Sea, 10 in the Norwegian Sea, and four in the Barents Sea.
Oil and Gas 'Key' for Low-carbon Transformation?
Equinor said its ambition is to transform the NCS from an oil and gas province to a low-carbon energy province.
"In this transformation, oil and gas play a crucial role, both in delivering energy that is critical to society, but also through the expertise, technology and capital needed to realize the transformation," Equinor said.
Near-Field Drilling. 25 Wells planned in 2022
"We believe in the NCS and that there is still substantial value to find and develop. A good example is our latest discovery, Toppand, which was awarded in the 2011 APA. This discovery shows the potential for value creation on the NCS, even in mature areas, through use of new information and modern exploration technology,” says Averty. “We continue an active exploration strategy but focus on maximizing value creation overgrowth and volume. At least 80 percent of our exploration resources and investments will be concentrated around existing infrastructure – so-called near-field or infrastructure-led exploration,” says Averty.
Equinor said there were several reasons why the company prioritizes near-field exploration.
These are mature areas on the NCS, where the geology is well known and the infrastructure is in place, thus the risk is lower, Equinor said.
“Near-field discoveries can be tied into existing infrastructure without large and costly new developments. In this way, we maximize the value of the infrastructure we have invested in for 40 years. In addition, these discoveries are characterized by high profitability, short payback period and low CO2 emissions,” says Averty.
In 2022, Equinor plans to take part in around 25 exploration wells, mainly near existing infrastructure. Most of the wells will be drilled in the North Sea, some in the Norwegian Sea and a few in the Barents Sea.