Public consultation on APA 2020 – Awards in Pre-defined Areas

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The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy proposes to include 36 new blocks in this year's licensing round in the well-known parts of the Norwegian Continental Shelf – Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) 2020. The proposal is now sent on a public consultation.

- In these challenging times it is important to plan for the future. Stable access to new acreage for petroleum exploration is key in order to develop our most important industry further, and to maintain the level of activity on the Norwegian Shelf. Awards in pre-defined areas contribute to the exploration of the well-known parts of the shelf, and they are sought-after by the companies, says Minister for Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru.

The overall objective of Norway’s petroleum policy is to provide a framework for profitable production of oil and gas in a long-term perspective. A stable and predictable framework is key to achieving this goal. Continuation of today's regular licensing rounds to provide the industry access to new exploration acreage is a pillar of the government's policy.

- We propose to include 36 new blocks in the pre-defiend area. The new acreage is located west in the Norwegian Sea. Through the APA 2020, the government continues to facilitate profitable production of oil and gas in a long-term perspective, says the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru.

In the public consultation, the Ministry asks for consultative input related to whether new and significant information has emerged pertaining the decision about where petroleum activities can be conducted, since the last time the Norwegian Parliament reviewed this question.

Go to the public consultation (Norwegian only).


Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) is one of two equal licensing rounds on the Norwegian continental shelf. The scheme was introduced in 2003 to facilitate exploration in geologically well known parts of the Shelf.

The APA area includes the geologically most mature parts of the Norwegian continental shelf. The expected size of discoveries in such well-known areas is smaller. Exploration mainly focuses on smaller discoveries that would not justify an independent development, but may be profitable if developed in conjunction with other discoveries and/or utilising existing or planned infrastructure.

In these areas, it is important with time critical exploration. Effective exploration requires predictability regarding which areas the companies can apply for in the APA-rounds, and requires a steady increase in the number of blocks included in the APA-area. Thus, the APA rounds are organized annually.

An evaluation is undertaken every year as to whether the APA area should be expanded. The area is expanded as new areas are becoming well-explored

Petroleum activities in Norway are subject to stringent health, safety and environment requirements, as well as requirements to safeguard the external environment. Significant emphasis is placed on ensuring sound co-existence with other industries.