Norway Allows Oil, Gas exploration in North, Barents Seas

Norway Allows Oil, Gas exploration in North, Barents Seas

Norway has attracted some 25 companies for the exploration of oil and gas on the Norwegian shelf, as part of awards it offered in predefined areas (APA) licenses of new offshore acreage drilling.

Norway’s APA, an annual licensing round for the most popular exploration blocks on the Norwegian shelf, serves the country’s strategy to expand oil and gas production for decades to come. In this year’s licensing round, the predefined area was expanded to the North Sea and the Barents Sea, amongst fierce opposition from environmental groups.

“Without exploration and new discoveries, we will neither be able to maintain production of oil and gas over time, nor further develop the petroleum sector and all jobs in the industry,” Terje Aasland, the oil and energy minister, said in a statement.

By the application deadline of 23rd August, the Ministry had received applications from a total of 25 companies, including Shell, CococoPhillips (COP.N), Aker BP (AKRBP.OL), and Equinor (EQNR.OL).

In May, the energy ministry offered 92 new blocks to search for oil and gas in the Norwegian and the Barents Seas, in the so-called pre-defined areas (APA) exploration round.

In recent years, Norway has used APA rounds to significantly expand exploration on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, especially in the Arctic Barents Sea, despite protests over the impact that burning oil and gas has on the global climate.

The latest offer added 78 new blocks in the western part of the Barents Sea and 14 blocks in the northwestern part of the Norwegian Sea to the already existing APA area.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, in a separate statement, said almost all companies active on the Norwegian Continental Shelf had submitted bids, with increased interest in the Barents Sea. It did not say how many blocks companies had bid for.

Norway in January awarded 47 new permits to a total of 25 companies, concluding its 2022 licensing round.

Oil and gas companies can also apply for blocks offered in the previous APA rounds that have not been awarded, including in the North Sea.

The oil and energy ministry said it plans to announce the winners of new acreage in early 2024.

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Doaa Ashraf 454 Posts

Doaa is a staff writer with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communication, majoring Journalism from Ahram Canadian University. She has 2-3 years of experience in copywriting, and content creation.


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