The highest number of licenses ever have been awarded in Norway's latest licensing round, with 75 licenses awarded to 19 operators, led by Norwegian major Statoil.
The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy says 34 oil companies, from large international majors, to small exploration firms, have been awarded interests in one or more licenses in the Award in Pre-Defined Areas 2017 (APA 2017) round.
Of the 75 licenses, 45 are in the North Sea, 22 in the Norwegian Sea and eight are in the Barents Sea (8).
Statoil has picked up the most. It will pick up interests in 31 licenses, with operatorship of 17 of those. Statoil is followed by Aker BP, which has stakes in 23 licenses, and operatorship of 14 of those. Trailing in third place is Lundin, with interests in 14 licenses and operatorship of0 six.
"The number of licenses is the highest ever awarded in a licensing round on the Norwegian continental shelf," says Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Terje Søviknes.
Statoil's 2017 APA offer includes three commitment wells. Two of these wells are in the North Sea and one in the Norwegian Sea.
In license PL921, Statoil will drill the Gladsheim prospect which will test if oil has moved eastward from the Troll area, says Jez Averty, Statoil’s senior vice president for exploration in Norway and the UK. In PL942 in the Norwegian Sea, Statoil will drill the Ørn prospect to discover new resources that can be produced through the Norne installation. Statoil will also participate in drilling a well in PL916 at the Utsira High operated by AkerBP.
"We will this year drill or participate in 25-30 exploration wells on the NCS. This is an increase from the 19 we operated or participated in in 2017,” Averty says.
The APA licensing rounds cover the most explored areas on the Norwegian shelf. "One of the primary challenges in mature areas is the expected decline in discovery size," says Norway's Ministry of Petroleum. "Minor discoveries will not be able to carry standalone developments, but may have good profitability when they can exploit existing and planned processing equipment and transportation systems, or be seen in context with other discoveries or planned developments."
Of the licenses awarded to Lundin, four are in the southern Barents Sea and operated by Lundin. The two other operated licenses offered are in the Norwegian Sea.
Of the 23 interests in production licenses awarded to Aker BP, 15 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).
Find maps showing where all of the licenses awards are and to whom they're being offered here.
The following were awarded operatorships (number of operatorships in brackets):