Press release | No: 032/19 | Date: 29/05/2019
The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy announces this year’s licensing round in mature areas on the Norwegian continental shelf – Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) 2019.
– I am delighted to announce this year's APA round. We are continuing our practice of offering regular concessions on the NCS to provide the industry access to new acreage. Awarding prospective acreage is a central element in the Government's policy. I believe the oil companies are well motivated to continuing exploring the NCS, says Minister Kjell-Børge Freiberg.
In the APA 2019, the predefined area has been expanded by a total of 90 blocks – five in the North Sea, 37 in the Norwegian Sea and 48 in the Barents Sea.
– The expansion of the APA-area is important to ensure effective exploration of larger parts of the NCS, including the Barents Sea. The expansion will give the companies access to new opportunities that can enable value creation, employment and technology development.
The application deadline for companies is 12 noon on August 27, 2019. The aim is to award new production licenses in the announced areas in the beginning of 2020.
The invitation to apply for petroleum production licenses, an updated map of the announced blocks, health, safety and environment (HSE), environmental and fisheries requirements and further information are available on the website of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.
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 mature parts of the Shelf.
The APA area includes the geologically most mature parts of the Norwegian continental shelf. The expected size of discoveries in mature 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 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.