Norway Offers 69 Continental Shelf Production Licenses

Credit: Equinor
Credit: Equinor

Published Jan 14, 2020 7:30 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has offered 69 production licenses on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) to 28 oil companies.

33 of the licenses are located in the North Sea, 23 in the Norwegian Sea and 13 in the Barents Sea.

The licenses cover the most explored areas on the shelf, and one of the primary challenges in mature areas is the expected decline in discovery size. Smaller discoveries may not be able to carry standalone developments but could be profitable when making use of existing and planned infrastructure. 

Equinor has been awarded 23 licenses – 14 Equinor-operated and nine are partner-operated. Nick Ashton, Equinor’s senior vice president for exploration in Norway and the UK, said: “Our infrastructure-led exploration on the NCS has been successful for many years. This provides a good basis for high profitability and a low carbon footprint. In addition, we are actively pursuing new ideas in selected areas that meet the same criteria. This applies to the North Sea, as well as the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea, where we see potentials in the Castberg, Wisting, Goliat and Snøhvit areas.”

Lundin Norway has been awarded 12 exploration license interests including seven licenses in the North Sea, two licenses in the Norwegian Sea and three licenses in the Southern Barents Sea. Seven will be operated by the company. The awards increase by 15 percent the number of licenses it holds.

The first licensing round on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) took place in 1965. The activity started in the North Sea, and exploration in the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea started around 15 years later. 

Number of licenses /operatorships

Aker BP (15/9)
AS Norske Shell (5/2)
Capricorn (3/3)
Chrysaor (8/3)
Concedo (4/0)
ConocoPhillips (5/3)
DNO (10/2)
Edison (2/1)
Equinor (23/14)
Idemitsu (2/0)
INEOS (2/1)
Lime (2/0)
Lotos (2/0)
Lundin (12/7)
Neptune (13/4)
OKEA (5/2)
OMV (4/1)
ONE-Dyas (3/0)
Pandion (3/0)
PGNiG (3/0)
Repsol (1/0)
Source (3/0)
Spirit (6/1)
Suncor (5/2)
Total (2/1)
Vår Energi (17/7)
Wellesley (7/3) 
Wintershall Dea (9/3)