Norway sees high exploration interest
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) said September 15 it received applications from 31 companies interested in exploring parts of its territorial waters in the North, Norwegian Sea and Barents seas.
The NPD set September 8 as a deadline for bids in its latest Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) round. The directorate is now reviewing applications and will make offers to companies in early 2022.
“It’s gratifying to see the continued high level of interest to identify additional resources near existing fields and infrastructure,” NPD director of licence management Kalmar Ildstad said.
Norway is a major oil and gas provider for Europe as its own economy draws heavily on renewable resources rather than fossil fuels.
For July, the last full month for which data are available, NPD reported total average daily production was 2mn barrels of oil, natural gas liquids and condensate, slightly below government expectations. Gas production missed government estimates more than crude oil or condensate.
Norway has helped prop up oil companies during the pandemic by providing some 100bn kroner ($10.6bn) in tax relief aimed at encouraging them to continue investing despite the market downturn last year.
From 2022, a special tax rate paid by oil and gas companies will be increased to 71.8% from 51% at present, although the overall tax rate of 78% will remain the same, the finance ministry said in a statement. The government also plans to phase out a reimbursement system for exploration costs. The changes, pending approval by parliament, are expected to rake in an extra 7bn kroner ($810mn) in budget revenues from investments made in 2022.