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    Norway awards 53 licences to 28 companies in latest NCS round


State-owned Equinor was a participant in nearly half the licences awarded

by: Maureen McCall

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Norway awards 53 licences to 28 companies in latest NCS round

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said January 18 it had offered ownership interests in 53 production licences in mature oil and gas producing areas on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) to 28 companies.

The licences in the ‘Awards in Pre-Defined Areas’ system are for mature areas close to existing infrastructure, rather than frontier areas. Norway has suspended licensing in those areas.

The recipients include Norway’s Equinor, Aker BP and Sweden’s Lundin Energy, as well as majors Shell, TotalEnergies, ConocoPhillips, and medium-sized companies PGNiG of Poland, Germany’s Wintershall Dea, Austria’s OMV and Canada’s Suncor Energy, reflecting that a ‘great diversity’ of companies received offers, the regulator said.

“The petroleum industry contributes with large revenues, value creation and jobs across the country.... Further exploration activity and new discoveries are crucial to develop the Norwegian petroleum industry further,” petroleum and energy minister Marte Mjos Persen said.

State-owned Equinor received interests in 26 production licences, 12 as operator and 14 as a partner. Of the 26, 12 are in the North Sea, 10 in the Norwegian Sea and four in the Barents Sea.

“We believe in the NCS and that there is still substantial value to find and develop,” said Jez Averty, Equinor’s senior vice president for subsurface. “We continue an active exploration strategy but focus on maximising value creation over growth and volume – at least 80% of our exploration resources and investments will be concentrated around existing infrastructure, so-called near-field or infrastructure-led exploration.”

Norway continues a commitment to petroleum extraction, while other European countries continue to phase out oil and gas, with the UK even suspending licensing.

“The energy crisis in Europe emphasizes the importance of Norway as a reliable and diverse energy supplier,” Norwegian Oil & Gas CEO Hildegunn Blindheim said. “In order for us to be able to deliver the energy Europe needs, we depend on attractive areas.”

Nevertheless, Norway continues reducing emissions through taxation of CO2 emissions and is testing other technologies like carbon capture and storage and offshore wind farms.