Norway has awarded 62 exploration licences to 24 oil companies as part of its APA 23 round, signalling a continued commitment to oil and gas exploration.
This annual round focuses on mature areas of the Norwegian Continental Shelf with the aim of maintaining stable production levels in the coming years.
The 62 production licences granted in APA 2023 include 29 in the North Sea, 25 in the Norwegian Sea and eight in the Barents Sea.
This represents an increase from the 47 licences awarded in the previous year.
Other awardees include TotalEnergies EP Norge, Norske Shell, Inpex Idemitsu Norge, ConocoPhillips Skandinavia and Neptune Energy Norge.
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Last week, the Norwegian Offshore Directorate (NPD) expressed expectations of sustained high activity levels into 2024, with new fields anticipated to offset declines from maturing ones.
Investment forecasts for 2023 and 2024 have been revised upwards, reflecting a significant increase in projected spending.
This development underscores Norway’s efforts to maintain its role as a key energy provider to Europe, a position solidified in 2022 when it became the continent’s leading supplier of natural gas following the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Norway’s Minister of Energy, Terje Aasland, said: “Awarding new licences through the awards in predefined areas is a pillar in the continued development of the Norwegian shelf. To see such great interest in further exploration activity is very encouraging. This is important for both employment and value creation, as well as for facilitating Norway’s role as a stable energy supplier to Europe.”
NPD director of licence management Kalmar Ildstad said: “We can see that the companies still have plenty of faith in making more discoveries in areas with familiar geology and close to existing infrastructure.
“It is important to prove resources so that available capacity in established process plants and pipeline systems can be utilised. This means that even small discoveries can yield significant value creation.”