Norway has sent 40 companies offers for 51 new production licenses on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate announced Tuesday. The NPD said the Norwegian government had evaluated applications from 47 companies for its Awards in Pre-defined Areas (APA) 2012 before making its offers.
Of the 51 production licenses, 34 are located in the North Sea, 14 in the Norwegian Sea and 3 in the Barents Sea. Fifteen of the production licenses are additional acreage to existing production licenses. Two of the new licenses are divided stratigraphically and only apply to levels below or above a defined stratigraphic boundary.
Forty companies will be offered interests in at least one production license. Twenty-three of the companies will be offered operatorships. Norway's state oil and gas company Petoro will hold shares in 17 production licenses as the manager of the State's Direct Financial Interest (SDFI).
"Interest in available acreage in this year's APA was record-high, with the greatest interest in the North Sea and significant competition for some areas. We see that a lot of good work has gone into most of the applications, and some players have submitted very interesting concepts," NPD Exploration Director Sissel Eriksen said in a statement.
The offers are subject to certain obligations. There is a requirement for acquisition of new seismic data in eight areas. For the other production licenses there are "drill or drop" conditions. This means that the licensees have between one and three years in which to make a decision to drill a well, otherwise the production license lapses.