Norway's Ministry of Petroleum and Energy announced Friday that is offering shares in 51 new production licenses to 40 companies in connection with the 2012 Awards in Predefined Areas licensing round.
"Today, I am sending out offers linked to 51 new production licenses for the Norwegian continental shelf. I am pleased to see strong, broad-based interest in the most well-known parts of the continental shelf. This year's licensing round confirms that Norway's combination of framework conditions and geological opportunities is internationally competitive," Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe said in a statement.
The Ministry said that the 51 production licenses are distributed among the North Sea (34), the Norwegian Sea (14) and the Barents Sea (3). Forty seven companies in total applied for licenses, with 40 being offered shares in one or more of these. Twenty three companies will be offered operatorships.
The APA licensing round includes mature areas on the Norwegian continental shelf, which have already been well explored and where the geology is known. The expected size of discoveries in mature areas is smaller, although the Ministry pointed out that recent years "have shown that positive surprises can still happen".
Borten Moe added:
"The award of new licenses is vital for effective, long-term resource management. Today's awards will facilitate the efficient exploration of the parts of the continental shelf that we know best. The next step is for the companies to deliver good results in the form of profitable discoveries."
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