Norway Makes Record Number of Offshore License Awards

Transocean drilling rig: credit Kenneth Engelsvold
Transocean drilling rig: credit Kenneth Engelsvold

By The Maritime Executive 01-16-2018 05:12:21

Norway has offered 34 companies a total of 75 new production licenses on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. This is a record number of production licenses awarded in an Awards in Pre-defined Areas (APA) round, and never before had so many applications been submitted.

New licenses are being awarded in the expanded APA area in both the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea. Of the 75 production licenses, 45 are in the North Sea, 22 in the Norwegian Sea and eight in the Barents Sea. 

A range of small and large companies have been awarded licenses. Statoil has been offered interests in 31 exploration licenses, 17 as operator and 14 as a partner. The offer this year includes three commitment wells. Two of these wells are in the North Sea and one in the Norwegian Sea. Through drilling the Gladsheim prospect Statoil will test if oil can have moved eastward from the Troll area. The company is also aiming to discover new resources that can be produced through the Norne installation by drilling of the Ørn prospect. The company will drill or participate in in between up to 30 exploration wells on the Norwegian Continental Shelf this year,  an increase from the 19 of 2017.

Lundin Petroleum has been awarded 14 exploration license interests in the round. The record-high award includes six licenses in the North Sea, four licenses in the Norwegian Sea and four licenses in the southern Barents Sea. Six of the awarded licenses will be operated by Lundin Norway.

DEA has been awarded five new licenses. Manager Svend Erik Pettersson is pleased with the results: “We got the areas that we ranked as most interesting. Although the areas are mature, we see great potential.” DEA has been involved in some of the most important recent discoveries on the Norwegian Continental Shelf and has grown into a key player in the industry. At present, DEA has shares in 54 licenses on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

Earlier this month, Oslo District Court approved Norway’s plans for more oil exploration in the Arctic, dismissing a lawsuit that claimed it violated the people’s constitutional right to a healthy environment. The government acts in accordance with the law when awarding new petroleum exploration licenses for the Barents Sea, the court ruling stated. 

The case, brought by Greenpeace and Nature and Youth, argued that a 2015 oil licensing round in the Arctic violated Norway’s constitution. The government’s lawyers argued that the case was a publicity stunt that would cost jobs if it was successful.

The court ordered the environmental groups to pay the state’s legal costs of around $71,000.