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) 2014. The aim is to award new production licences in the announced areas at the beginning of 2015.
“The APA system is a cornerstone of the Norwegian petroleum policy. By promoting effective exploration of large parts of the Norwegian continental shelf, the system has played a crucial role in generating the extensive values that have resulted from exploration activities in recent years,” says Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tord Lien.
In the APA 2014 round, the predefined area has been expanded by six blocks in the Norwegian Sea, close to Aasta Hansteen, and three blocks in the Barents Sea, near the Snøhvit field. The announcement has been on public consultation.
“The majority of exploration activity on the Norwegian continental shelf occurs in the APA area. Facilitating a continued high awards level in the APA rounds is crucial for achieving the Government’s ambitions for the industry,” says Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tord Lien.
The application deadline for companies is 12 pm noon on Tuesday 2 September 2014.
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.
Map in pdf: Predefined areas at the time of announcement
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. Exploration of these areas by using up-to-date methods is therefore important. 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.