Oil&Gas: 60 new production licences offered

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has sent offers to 42 companies for 60 new production licences on the Norwegian continental shelf.

The offers were submitted after the authorities had evaluated applications from 43 companies for the Awards in Pre-defined Areas (APA) 2011.

Of the 60 production licences, 34 are located in the North Sea, 22 in the Norwegian Sea and 4 in the Barents Sea. 15 of the production licences are additional acreage for existing production licences. Two of the new licences are divided stratigraphically and only apply to levels below/above a defined stratigraphic boundary.

Of the companies that applied, 42 will be offered interests in at least one production licence. 27 of the companies will be offered operatorships. One of these, Valiant, has not previously been operator on the Norwegian shelf.

“The companies show great interest in the acreage made available in the APA. There was considerable competition in some of the areas in this year’s round. The overall level of the applications is quite good, and almost everyone will be awarded acreage, says Sissel Eriksen, director of exploration for the Norwegian Petroleum Diretorate,” says Sissel Eriksen, exploration director in the NPD.

The offers are subject to obligations stipulated by the authorities. There is a requirement for acquisition of new seismic data in eleven areas and seven fixed wells are to be drilled: 5 in the North Sea (by GDF Suez, Lundin, Statoil, Total), 1 in the Norwegian Sea (by Faroe) and 1 in the Barents Sea (by Det norske). For the other production licences there are ”drill or drop” conditions. This means that the licensees have from one to three years in which to make a decision to drill a well. If they do not wish to do so, the production licence lapses.

APA 2011 was announced on March 11th 2011. Up until the deadline of September 14th 2011, the area available for applications consisted of 108,433 square kilometers out of this total. This was an increase of 23,500 square kilometres from the previous year. The increase is due both to areas relinquished during the course of the year and an expansion of the area covered by the APA scheme.

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