The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has launched the annual licensing round in mature offshore areas on the Norwegian continental shelf.

The Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) 2019 adds 90 blocks, which comprise 48 located in the Barents Sea, 37 in the Norwegian Sea and five in the North Sea.

Norway seeks applications from oil companies that have geological understanding of the region, prior experience on the Norwegian continental shelf as well as necessary financial capability. Interested companies can apply for all available blocks or parts of blocks within the predefined areas.

Norway Minister of Petroleum and Energy Kjell-Børge Freiberg said: “We are continuing our practice of offering regular concessions on the NCS to provide the industry access to new acreage.

“Awarding prospective acreage is a central element in the Government’s policy. I believe the oil companies are well motivated to continuing exploring the NCS.”

The deadline for submitting applications is 27 August 2019. The government plans to award new production licenses at the beginning of 2020.

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By GlobalData

One of two equal licensing rounds on the Norwegian continental shelf, the APA was introduced in 2003 to facilitate exploration in mature regions of the shelf.

Every year an annual evaluation is carried out to expand the APA area, as new areas mature. The expected size of discoveries from these mature areas is smaller which will be feasible and profitable when developed in conjunction with other discoveries or by utilising the existing or planned infrastructure.

In January 2019 the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) predicted that oil and gas production in the country will increase from 2020 and will continue to rise till 2023.