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    Norwegian Licensing Round Attracts 33 Companies


The blocks on offer are all in the Norwegian Sea.

by: Joe Murphy

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Norwegian Licensing Round Attracts 33 Companies

Norway has received applications from 33 companies in its latest Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) licensing round, its petroleum and energy ministry said on September 25.

Authorities will announce licence awards in early 2021, the ministry said, noting it had received bids from large international firms, mid-sized players and junior explorers.

Norway launched the APA 2020 round in June, giving participants until September 22 to file applications for 36 blocks, all in the Norwegian Sea. The number of bids was in line with those in the last two rounds, the ministry said. Norway offered 33 companies 83 licences in the APA 2018 contest and 28 companies 69 licences in the APA 2019 tender.

"Predictable and stable framework conditions and an active licensing policy are two of the main pillars in the government's petroleum policy," petroleum minister Tina Bru commented. "The high interest expressed by the companies in new exploration acreage shows that our long-term petroleum policy has the desired effect, also during challenges times."

The annual APA rounds offer acreage in well-developed areas, in the hope that companies find resources that can be tied to existing infrastructure at a low cost. Norway also holds frontier rounds on a less regular basis that offer blocks in less explored areas where investment is naturally riskier but which may yield greater discoveries. A timeframe for the next one is not yet arranged, with delays caused by environmental concerns about drilling in the Arctic.