Norway expands annual oil and gas licensing round acreage by 37 exploration blocks in Barents Sea

May 08, 2024

(WO) – The Norwegian Ministry of Energy announced this year’s licensing round on the Norwegian Continental Shelf – APA 2024. This year, the APA acreage will be expanded by a total of 37 bocks in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea.

Three of the additional blocks are in the northwest of the Norwegian Sea and 34 blocks are in the east of the Barents Sea.

The deadline to apply for APA 2024 is Noon on Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2024.  The aim is to award the new production licenses for the newly announced areas in the beginning of 2025.

Background. “The Norwegian oil and gas industry is the country's largest and most important industry in terms of value creation, government revenues, exports and investments.,” the Norwegian Ministry of Energy said in an online statement.

Exploration provides opportunities for new discoveries that can be developed and help to maintain activity and production. In mature areas, new discoveries are important for achieving good capacity utilization in production and transport facilities and for good management of time-critical resources.

The APA-system was introduced in 2003 to facilitate timely exploration of the geologically best-known parts of the shelf. In these areas, the expected size of discoveries is decreasing. There is a great deal of exploration for smaller discoveries that cannot justify an independent development, but which can be very profitable when viewed in conjunction with other discoveries and/or can utilize existing or planned infrastructure.

Timely exploration of these areas is therefore important. Predictability as to which areas it is possible to apply for in the APA and a steady supply of new acreage are important to achieve effective exploration. APA rounds are therefore conducted annually. When an announcement is made, an assessment is made of whether the APA area should be expanded. The area is expanded as new areas are explored.

“We need further exploration to make new discoveries that in turn pave the way for investments to maintain production. This is important to safeguard jobs, income for the community and Europe's energy security. Access to new, attractive acreage through the APA system is a pillar of the government's petroleum policy’, said Minister of Energy Terje Aasland.”




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