Norway has received applications from 33 oil companies in the annual licensing round of mature offshore areas on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

The applicants include several oil majors including Aker BP, ConocoPhillips Skandinavia, Equinor Energy, Lundin Norway, Total E&P Norge and Vår Energi among others.

In May 2019, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy launched the Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) 2019.

The round in 2019 included 90 blocks comprising 48 in the Barents Sea and 37 in the Norwegian Sea. The remaining five blocks are located in the North Sea. The ministry received bids for new expansions and in the previously announced APA-areas.

Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Kjell Børge Freiberg said: “This shows that there is a high interest from the companies, and that they want to contribute to long-term value creation on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

“Identifying more resources through exploration is vital for Norwegian employment, future value-creation and our welfare state.”

The ministry will now evaluate the applications and the licences are expected to be awarded in early 2020.

APA is an annual licensing round that includes already explored areas on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The expected size of discoveries from these mature areas is smaller and they can be developed in conjunction with other existing platforms and infrastructure, thereby boosting oil production.

In recent years, APA’s scope has increased significantly with better understanding of the geology in the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

Freiberg added: “We have continued to expand the APA-area considerably based on professional advice. The high interest in the licensing rounds over the last few years shows that the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) is competitive, and that the Government’s petroleum policy has the desired effect.”