Norway Offers 40 Cos Stakes in 34 Oil & Gas Licenses

The Norwegian Government has decided to offer 34 production licenses in the awards in predefined areas 2008 (APA 2008).

"I am today offering production licenses to 40 companies of which 19 companies are offered operatorships. Offers are given to large, medium-sized and small companies, which will contribute to increased diversity on the Norwegian continental shelf. We have in some areas strengthened the conditions relating to environmental concerns, oil spill response and fisheries interests compared to previous years," said Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Riis-Johansen.

The 34 production licenses are distributed among the North Sea (21), the Norwegian Sea (11) and the Barents Sea (2). A total of 47 companies applied for production licenses in APA 2008.

The APA licensing rounds takes place in mature areas of the Norwegian continental shelf. Mature areas are the most explored areas on the shelf and have known geology. In mature areas it is expected to make smaller discoveries that often do not justify an independent development. It is therefore good resource management to discover and develop resources in these areas before existing infrastructure in connection to other fields is shut down.

The conditions relating to environmental and fisheries concerns in APA 2008 have been strengthened compared to previous years when it comes to areas where fishing for sand eels takes place. For production licenses in the Barents Sea close to the coastline, additional efforts with regard to oil spill response will be required in case of exploration or production in these areas.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has decided to perform an evaluation of the APA licensing rounds. As a part of the evaluation the Ministry has launched a public consultation where both the industry and the public at large are invited to submit their views. The deadline for consultation responses is January 20, 2009.