The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has announced the Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) 2008. With this announcement prospective blocks for exploration activities in mature areas of the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) are being made available to the industry.
In APA 2008 the predefined area has been extended with 4 blocks in the Barents Sea, 3 blocks in the Norwegian Sea and 11 blocks in the North Sea compared with the area in APA 2007. The area announced in APA 2008 consists mainly of returned blocks where petroleum activities have previously taken place. The announcement will provide new opportunities to other companies and contribute to a stable level of activity on the NCS.
The APA-arrangement is considered important to attract new and smaller companies to the NCS. The purpose of the APA-rounds is to enhance exploration activities in mature areas, where expectations are smaller discoveries that cannot justify an independent development. It is therefore good resource management to discover and develop these resources before existing infrastructure in connection to other fields are shut down.
Conditions related to environmental concerns and fisheries interests have been strengthened in some areas. E.g. in relation to the extension south in the North Sea there has been set very strict conditions in order to accommodate the fields where fishing on sandeels takes place.
The Cabinet has previous to this announcement performed a thorough and extensive assessment to ensure that the interests of the environment and fisheries are well taken care of, and that these assessments are founded on updated assessments and knowledge. The further timetable for APA 2008 will not deviate from previous announcements.
The deadline for submission of applications is 12.00 am on October 3, 2008. Awards of new production licenses is planned to take place late 2008 / early 2009.
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