Licensing position for the Norwegian continental shelf

The total area of sea under Norwegian jurisdiction is almost 6 times the size of mainland Norway, Svalbard and Jan Mayen. About half the area consists of sedimentary rock that may contain petroleum.
The total area of sea under Norwegian jurisdiction is almost 6 times the size of mainland Norway, Svalbard and Jan Mayen. About half the area consists of sedimentary rock that may contain petroleum.
APA 2020 APA 2019 24th licensing round Previous licensing rounds

The total area of sea under Norwegian jurisdiction is 2 279 965 km², which is almost 6 times the size of mainland Norway, Svalbard and Jan Mayen. About half the area of seabed consists of sedimentary rock that may contain petroleum. The extent of this area is indicated by the black line on the map.

The map gives an overview of the current status of the Norwegian continental shelf. The green areas have been opened for petroleum activity by the Storting (Norwegian parliament). The yellow areas have also been opened, but are subject to special arrangements as described in the white paper An industry for the future – Norway's petroleum activities. The areas outlined in red are covered by the system of awards in predefined areas (APA).

Licensing position for the Norwegian continental shelf

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Source: The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate

Source: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate
Area status for the Norwegian continental shelf

Awards in predefined areas (APA) 2020

Public consultation

On 30 March 2020, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has launched a public consultation for a proposal to expand the TFO area. On the basis of assessments by petroleum experts, an expansion of the Norwegian Sea area with 36 blocks was proposed. The deadline for comments on the proposal is set to 11 May 2020. More detailed information on the public consultation can be found on the MPE’s website (in Norwegian).

Awards in predefined areas (APA) 2019

Offers for ownership interests

14 January 2020, 28 companies have been offered ownership interests in a total of 69 production licences in the APA 2019. Of the 69 production licences, 33 are in the North Sea, 23 in the Norwegian Sea and 13 in the Barents Sea. The authorities have offered acreage in the expanded APA area, both in the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea. More information about the APA 2019 can be found at the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate's webpage.

Licence shares offered in APA 2019

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APA 2019 - Offered shares
Source: The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate

24th Licensing Round

Nomination and public consultation

In August/September 2016, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy invited oil companies to nominate blocks in opened areas on the Norwegian shelf for the 24th licensing round. The companies' nominations form an important part of the decision basis for assessments when announcing acreage. In March 2017, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy sent blocks nominated for announcement on a public hearing process.

Announcement and applications

On 21 June 2017, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy announced the 24th licensing round. The licensing round included all 102 blocks or parts of blocks that had been on the public hearing process. Nine blocks were located in the Norwegian Sea and 93 blocks in the Barents Sea. When the application deadline expired on 30 November 2017, a total of eleven companies had submitted applications for new exploration acreage in both sea areas. Most applications received were for the Barents Sea, and the companies were particularly interested in the northwestern part of the Barents Sea South. The list of applicants was dominated by large and medium-sized companies with good technical and financial capacity to conduct exploration in such immature areas.

Offers for ownership interests

On 18 June 2018, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy offered 12 production licences to 11 companies in the 24th licensing round. Three licences are in the Norwegian Sea and nine licenses were offered in the Barents Sea.

Acreage awarded in the 24th licensing round

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Source: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate

Source: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate
Awards in the 24th licensing round

Previous licensing rounds

Information about previous licensing rounds is found at the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate's webpage. See the article about Exploration policy for more information about the licensing system.

Updated: 03.04.2020