The Norwegian government has initiated a licensing round for 102 offshore blocks located predominantly in the Barents Sea.

In what will be the 24th licensing round on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, oil and gas companies will get the opportunity to bid for 93 blocks in the Barents Sea and for nine blocks in the Norwegian Sea.

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy is looking to award new production licenses in the first half of next year, while companies have a deadline until 30 November to submit their applications.

Norway Petroleum and Energy Minister Terje Søviknes said: “New exploration acreage promotes long-term activity, value creation and profitable employment in the petroleum industry across the country.

“Profitable activity on the Norwegian continental shelf provides employment, as well as revenues to the state. Thus, awarding prospective acreage to the petroleum industry is a central pillar in the Norwegian government's petroleum policy.”

In August 2016, the Ministry had invited oil and gas companies to name blocks for the 24th licensing round. After the nominations were assessed by the government authorities, a proposal was prepared to announce the 102 blocks which are now ready for auction.

According to the Norwegian government, the proposed blocks comprise blocks that are in close proximity to existing exploration acreage and discoveries, and are also potentially prosperous. Also included in the new licensing round are blocks that are close to new exploration acreage.

Last year in May, Norway had awarded new licenses for 40 blocks in the Barents Sea for oil and gas exploration in the 23rd licensing round. Companies like Statoil Petroleum, Lukoil Overseas North Shelf, Lundin Norway and Tullow Oil Norge were among the license winners.

Image: Norway to offer 102 offshore blocks in its 24th licensing round. Photo: courtesy of num_skyman/