The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has received applications from 39 companies in this year’s awards in predefined areas (APA) round, which is nearly 50% higher than 2016.
Applications have been received for new acreage in well-known areas on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS).
Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Søviknes said: "Further exploration activity is vital to future value creation and employment on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
"This, in turn, is important with reference to financing the welfare state. Therefore, I am very happy that such a diverse group of companies has delivered a record number of applications for new exploration acreage."
APA is an annual licensing round for best-known areas within the NCS areas, with the intention to encourage exploration in the region.
The government scheme is effective to ensure good resource management of the region, as well as to facilitate smaller discoveries.
APA 2017 was announced in May last year, while the ministry is scheduled to award new production licences at the beginning of 2018.
Applicants include Aker BP, Centrica Resources (Norge), ConocoPhillips Skandinavia, DEA Norge, ENI Norge, ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Norway, Statoil Petroleum, Total E&P Norge, and Wintershall Norge.
During last year’s APA round, 29 of the 33 applicants received 56 production licences between them, reported Reuters.