The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has launched the licensing round for APA 2018 which comprises the predefined areas with blocks in the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea.

In the APA 2018, the ministry expanded predefined area by a total of 103 blocks including 47 blocks in the Norwegian Sea and 56 blocks in the Barents Sea.

The bidders include Aker BP, Norske Shell, Capricorn Norge, Chrysaor Norge, Concedo, ConocoPhillips Skandinavia, DEA Norge, DNO Norge, Dyas Norge, Edison Norge, Eni Norge, Equinor Energy, Faroe Petroleum Norge, Idemitsu Petroleum Norge, Ineos E&P Norge, INPEX Norge, Lime Petroleum, Lundin Norway, M Vest Energy, MOL Norge, and Neptune Energy Norge.

Other bidders include OKEA, OMV (Norge), Pandion Energy, Petrolia NOCO, PGNiG Upstream Norway, Point Resources, Repsol Norge, RN Nordic Oil, Skagen44, Source Energy, Spirit Energy Norge, Suncor Energy Norge, Total E&P Norge, Tyr Exploration, VNG Norge, Wellesley Petroleum, and Wintershall Norge.

Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Kjell Børge Freiberg said: “The fact that the oil companies show such high interest in exploration on the Norwegian Continental Shelf is important for future value-creation, employment and state revenue from Norway’s largest and most important industry.

“I am therefore very pleased that we also this year have received a large number of applications from a broad range of companies.”

The energy ministry said it plans to award new production licenses in the areas in the beginning of 2019.

Freiberg added: “Predictable and stable framework-conditions and an active licensing policy are two important main pillars in the Governments petroleum policy. The high interest in the licensing rounds over the last few years shows that the Government’s petroleum policy has the desired effect.”

In June 2018, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy awarded 12 new production licenses in 47 blocks on the Norwegian Continental Shelf to 11 companies under the 24th licensing round.

Of the 12 licenses, three are in the Norwegian Sea while the remaining nine licenses are in the Barents Sea.