The licencing round offers 136 blocks in the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea for oil and gas exploration

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The licencing round is scheduled to close on 23 February 2021. (Credit: D Thory from Pixabay)

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has launched the 25th licencing round for oil and gas exploration blocks in nine frontier areas in the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea.

It will include eight areas in the Barents Sea and one in the Norwegian Sea.

The licencing round, which is scheduled to close on 23 February 2021, includes 11 blocks in the Norwegian Sea and 125 in the Barents Sea. Awards are planned to be announced during the first quarter of next year.

Norwegian Petroleum Directorate exploration director Torgeir Stordal said the recently published Resource Report 2020 showed the presence of substantial undiscovered resources in all areas on the NCS.

Stordal added: “In the 25th round, the companies will have access to acreage that has not been available in the annual APA rounds so far.”

Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tina Bru said: “Around 200 000 people are employed directly or indirectly in the petroleum sector in Norway.

“New discoveries are necessary to ensure continued activity, ripple effects, employment and governmental revenues throughout the country. Implementation of the 25th licensing round is line with the Granavolden-platform and Norwegian Parliament policy.”

New licences to be awarded in Q2 2021

The award new production licences in the announced areas are targeted to be announced in the second quarter of 2021.

The government’s petroleum policy aims to provide a predictable framework for long-term profitable oil and gas production.

As a result, the policy focuses on exploring all opened areas on the NCS, including the least explored parts of the shelf (frontier areas) that were involved in numbered licencing rounds.

Under the 24th licensing round, Norway awarded new production licenses in 47 blocks on the Norwegian Continental Shelf to 11 companies in 2018.