Historical archive

Solberg's Government

Announcement of Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) 2017

Historical archive

Published under: Solberg's Government

Publisher: Ministry of Petroleum and Energy

Today, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy is announcing this year’s licensing round for mature areas on the Norwegian continental shelf – Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) 2017.

- Awarding prospective exploration acreage is a central pillar in the Norwegian Government's petroleum policy. APA 2017 is the second largest expansion so far, and the largest expansion yet in the Barents Sea. This is imperative for effective resource management, says The Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Mr. Terje Søviknes (Progressive Party).

- The APA 2017 announcement shows our commitment to the Government's petroleum policy and our ocean strategy. This expansion promotes effective resource management, high value creation and employment, Minister Søviknes continues.

In the APA 2017 round, the predefined area has been expanded by in total 87 blocks, 34 blocks in the Norwegian Sea and 53 blocks in the Barents Sea. The expansion includes blocks west in the Norwegian Sea and areas around Wisting, Alta and Gohta in the Barents Sea.

A complete announcement text, an updated map of the announced blocks, health, safety and environment (HSE), environmental and fisheries conditions and further information are available on the website of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.

The application deadline for companies is 12 pm noon on the 1st of September 2017.

The aim is to award new production licenses in the announced areas at the beginning of 2018.


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 of geologically mature parts of the shelf using current methods.

The APA area includes the geologically most mature parts of the Norwegian continental shelf. The expected size of discoveries in these mature areas is smaller. Exploration largely focuses on smaller discoveries that would not justify 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 the areas that can be applied for under the APA system, and a steady stream of new acreage. The APA rounds are therefore organised annually.

An evaluation is undertaken every year as to whether the area covered by the system (the APA area), should be expanded. Assessments by petroleum experts determine whether new areas should be added to the APA area. The area is expanded as new areas mature.

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.