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 2021 APA 2020 25th 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 the white paper no. 20 (2019-2020). 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 2021

Public consultation

On 25 February 2021, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) has sent a proposal to announce the licensing round APA 2021 for public consultation. The proposal entails that a further 84 new blocks are included in the APA area. Four of these are located in the North Sea, 10 in the Norwegian Sea and 70 in the Barents Sea. The deadline for comments on the proposal is on 16 April 2021. More detailed information on the public consultation can be found on the MPE’s website (in Norwegian).

APA 2020

Announcement and applications

The Ministry  announced 19 June 2020 the APA 2020. The predefined areas (APA acreage) have been expanded with a total of 36 blocks in Norwegian Sea.  When the application deadline expired on 22 September 2020, a total of 33 companies had submitted applications for new exploration acreage on the Norwegian continental shelf.

Offered awards

19 January 2021, 30 companies have been offered ownership interests in a total of 61 production licences in the APA 2020. Of the 61 production licences, 34 are in the North Sea, 24 in the Norwegian Sea and 3 in the Barents Sea. 12 of the production licences are additional acreage to existing production licences. More detailed information can be found on the NPD’s website.

Licence shares offered in APA 2020

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25th Licensing Round

Public consultation and announcement

In June 2020, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy proposed announcing nine areas in the 25th licensing round, distributed over eight areas in the Barents Sea and one area in the Norwegian Sea. The proposal has been submitted for public consultation. The deadline for consultation comments was at 26 August 2020. A total of 30 consultation statements were received.

The 25th licensing round was announced on 19 November 2020. This round comprises a total of 136 blocks/parts of blocks, 125 in Barents Sea and 11 in Norwegian Sea. The deadline for applications was set for 23 February 2021 where seven companies have applied for new production licences. The Ministry aims to award new production licenses during the second quarter of 2021. More detailed information can be found on the NPD's website.

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: 27.02.2021