Norway Announces Predefined Areas 2005

On Monday the Norwegian Government announced Awards in Predefined Areas 2005 (APA 2005).

Even though there are signs that exploration activity is picking up, we still need to maintain a high level of activity with regard to new production licenses on the Norwegian continental shelf, to ensure a higher level of exploration activity, says Mrs. Thorhild Widvey, Minister of Petroleum and Energy. Undiscovered resources in the mature areas represent major values, and thus important expansion of the predefined areas in the North Sea and in the Norwegian Sea has been effectuated, states the minister.

The targeted measures introduced by the Government have substantially contributed to the positive development. We expect a considerable increase in the number of planned exploration wells this year compared to 2004. Of course the high oil price is also an important factor, and may count for a larger part of the expected increase in exploration activity, she says.

The APA 2005 announcement represents an important expansion of the predefined areas. At the time of announcement 192 blocks or parts of blocks are announced in APA 2005. The expansion of the predefined areas in 2005 amount to 41 non-licensed blocks or parts of blocks.

There are still considerable remaining resources, both proven and unproven, in the mature parts of the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS). The existing infrastructure within the APA areas has a limited lifespan, and it is therefore of vital importance to prove and produce resources in these areas before existing infrastructure is shut down.

APA announced for the third time
The awards in predefined areas system was introduced for the first time in 2003. The yearly APA awards take place in mature parts of the NCS. The APA area will be extended with new blocks as new parts of the NCS gradually mature for petroleum activity, but the area will not be reduced.

The deadline for submission of applications is noon on 30 September 2005. The awards are planned to take place in December 2005.

Applications for participating interests in production licenses may be submitted for blocks that are not licensed within the predefined area, which are marked out on the maps. It is also possible to apply for acreage that is relinquished within the predefined area before the submission deadline.