Equinor has secured 26 new production licences on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS ) for further exploration.

The licences were awarded by Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in the annual award in predefined areas (APA ) round.

The company won 12 licences as operator and 14 as partner.

Equinor Norway Exploration and Production subsurface senior vice-president Jez Averty said: “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.

“At least 80% of our exploration resources and investments will be concentrated around existing infrastructure, so-called near-field or infrastructure-led exploration.”

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy offered 53 new production licences to a total of 28 companies under APA 2021.

Of the 53 licences, 28 are in the North Sea, 20 are in the Norwegian Sea, and five are in the Barents Sea.

For Equinor, 12 of the licences are located in the North Sea, ten in the Norwegian Sea, and four in the Barents Sea.

Aker BP won 15 licences while German oil and gas firm Wintershall won seven.

Other notable winners during the APA 2021 licensing round include DNO and Lundin and Vår Energi, each winning ten production licences.

Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Marte Mjøs Persen said: “Awards of productions licences is a mainstay in facilitating a stable level of activity on the continental shelf. This award is an important contribution to maintain future exploration activity and to make new, profitable discoveries.”

Last year, Norway awarded 61 production licences to 30 oil companies in the APA 2020 round.

A production licence provides the winner with exclusive right to explore, drill, and extract petroleum within the assigned area.