Norway Makes Extensive Offers for APA 2004 Round

The interest in new Production Licenses in mature parts of the Continental Shelf has grown considerably. The many companies participating in this round are important for utilizing existing infrastructure and for increased exploration activity in mature areas. I am very pleased to see such a wide variety of companies represented in the round, from the large Norwegian and international companies to the relative newcomers to the Norwegian Continental Shelf. I find it very positive that new operators on the NCS are so active in this round, says the Minister for Petroleum and Energy, Thorhild Widvey.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy offered 21 companies 28 production licenses in all in the North Sea, in Haltenbanken in the Norwegian Sea and in the Barents Sea around the Snøhvit field. The companies will receive offers of participating interests in a total of 55 blocks or parts of blocks. In comparison, in APA 2003 13 companies received offers to participate in 19 production licenses, while in the North Sea Awards in 2002 9 companies were offered 11 production licenses in all. APA 2004 is the most extensive round to date in mature parts of the Norwegian Continental Shelf, since the system of North Sea awards was introduced in 1999.

The system of awards in predefined areas was introduced for the first time in 2003. Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) is a yearly concession round in mature parts of the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

There is a good spread of production licenses over the three provinces included in the APA-area, however, the main focus is on the North Sea, where 17 production licenses will be offered. Several of the new production licenses are close to the border with the United Kingdom's Continental Shelf. This means that the companies on both sides of the border have an opportunity to co-operate, exploit synergies, reduce costs and increase value creation. In Haltenbanken there is a great increase since last year, from 3 production licenses in 2003 to 10 production licenses in 2004. The Hammerfest basin in the Barents Sea was first included in APA 2004 and in this area the participants in the Snøhvit field will be offered acreage in the near vicinity of Snøhvit.

Companies that have been pre-qualified are rapidly establishing themselves as active exploration companies on the Norwegian Continental Shelf and several of these are active in this round. Through activities in other parts of the world several of the relatively new companies have proven their ability to create value.

It is vital to ensure that areas awarded are explored in a rapid and efficient manner and that the companies actively carry out work on the awarded acreage or relinquish it. This is particularly important when such large areas are offered to the companies. Therefore, the companies will in APA 2004 only be offered awards of those parts of the blocks where the companies have identified opportunities and where they have a plan for continued exploration activities, says the Minister for Petroleum and Energy, Thorhild Widvey.

28 production licenses will be offered.

The following companies will be offered operatorships (numbers in parenthesis): Statoil ASA (8), Norsk Hydro Produksjon a.s (5), Marathon Petroleum Norge AS (4), Talisman Energy Norge AS (3), DNO AS (2), BG Norge AS (1), Lundin Norway AS (1), ConocoPhillips Skandinavia AS (1), A/S Norske Shell (1), ENI Norge AS (1) and Pertra AS (1).

The following companies will be offered participating interests (numbers in parenthesis): DONG Norge AS (4), Gaz de France Norge AS (4), E. ON Ruhrgas Norge AS (3), Norsk Hydro Produksjon a.s (3), Paladin Resources Norge AS (3), Pertra AS (3), Revus Energy AS (3), Statoil ASA (3), Total E & P Norge AS (3), DNO AS (2), ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Norway A/S (2), Lundin Norway AS (2), OER oil AS (2), RWE Dea Norge AS (2), Talisman Energy Norge AS (2), Amerada Hess Norge AS (1), BG Norge AS (1), ConocoPhillips Skandinavia AS (1), ENI Norge AS (1) and Marathon Petroleum Norge AS (1).