Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has initiated a consultation on a 2021 licensing round in mature areas in which it offered 84 new blocks for exploration.

Of the total blocks offered under the APA 2021, four are in the North Sea, ten in the Norwegian Sea, and 70 in the Barents Sea.

Introduced in 2003, the APA licensing rounds aim to facilitate exploration in the most geologically known parts of the Norwegian continental shelf.

Concurrently, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy announced that seven oil and gas companies have applied for exploration blocks offered in the country’s 25th licensing round on the Norwegian shelf.

The list of the bidders includes Equinor, Shell, Lundin, OMV, Idemitsu Petroleum, Var Energi and Ineos.

Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) technology and coexistence director Torgeir Stordal said: “In this round, the announced blocks are mostly in frontier areas. We see that large and medium-sized companies with good technical and financial capacity to conduct exploration in such areas have applied.”

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By GlobalData

Under the 25th licensing round, the country has offered a total of 136 offshore exploration blocks or parts of blocks, including 11 in the Norwegian Sea and 125 in the Barents Sea.

Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tina Bru said: “The numbered rounds are focused on key areas in our least explored, open areas. They are an important supplement to the annual APA rounds (awards in predefined areas).

“Exploration activity in immature areas gives the state as a resource owner more knowledge about the resource potential. It enables us to identify resources and create value for the community.”

Under the licensing round, the selected companies will be awarded new production licences by the second half of this year.