Norway’s 23rd licensing round draws applications from 26 firms

Norway’s 23rd licensing round received applications on 57 blocks or portions of blocks from 26 oil and gas companies, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate reported on Dec. 4.

Blocks are in frontier areas where more exploration is needed to determine resource potential. Of the total, 3 are in the Norwegian Sea and 54 are in the Barents Sea.

NPD says several applications target a newly opened area that holds 34 blocks in the southeastern Barents Sea, which was clarified as Norwegian territory under the border agreement with Russia that came into effect from 2011. Acreage in the Hoop-Wisting area, opened in the 22nd round, is also on offer.

Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy plans to award the licenses before next summer.

The companies applying for licenses independently or in groups are: AS Norske Shell, BP Norge AS, Capricorn Norge AS, Centrica Resources (Norge) AS, Chevron Norge AS, ConocoPhillips Skandinavia AS, DEA Norge AS, Det norske oljeselskap ASA, DONG E&P Norge AS, E.On E&P Norge AS, Edison Norge AS, Faroe Petroleum Norge AS, Idemitsu Petroleum Norge AS, Inpex Norge AS, Kufpec Norway AS, Lukoil Overseas North Shelf AS, Lundin Norway AS, Moeco Oil & Gas Norge AS, OMV (Norge) AS, PGNiG Upstream International AS, Pure E&P Norway AS, RN Nordic Oil AS, Spike Exploration AS, Statoil Petroleum AS, Tullow Oil Norge AS, and Wintershall Norge AS.

The two newcomers are Japan’s Inpex Corp. and Kuwait’s Kufpec. Kufpec also applied in this year’s Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) round.

Jez Averty, Statoil’s senior vice-president, exploration, Norway, commented from his company’s perspective, “The acreage offered is interesting and important and we hope we will earn the opportunity to drill as early as in 2017.

“Acreage in the 23rd round has significant volume potential, but, nevertheless, there is a debate where some say that these resources will not be commercial,” Averty noted. “We believe otherwise and our application is proof enough of that. Statoil’s preparations for our 23rd round application have included developing technology solutions that will reduce the breakeven price per barrel for the significant discoveries we hope to make in the Barents Sea.”

Statoil in 2014 was operator for a group of 33 companies cooperating on seismic surveys in areas included in the 23rd licensing round (OGJ Online, Mar. 11, 2014). TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Co. conducted 2D and 3D multiline projects for the round as well (OGJ Online, Apr. 24, 2014).

In the 22nd licensing round, 36 companies applied for production licenses. APA 2015 saw 44 companies submitting applications, which NPD says may indicate that “smaller players” have prioritized APA ahead of the 23rd round.

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