On September 8th 2021, LOTOS Norge submitted bids in the most recent APA (Awards in Predefined Areas) round. Most of the areas applied for are located near acreage in which the company already holds interests and where it is engaged in ongoing exploration & production projects, including NOAKA and Sleipner. One of the areas, applied for jointly with PGNiG Norway, is located in a part of the North Sea where LOTOS has not yet explored for or produced hydrocarbons. The two companies have been partners for years, working together in the Norwegian upstream segment. Pursuant to a contract in effect since 2019, the PGNiG Group company is the exclusive buyer of LOTOS Norge’s natural gas output in Norway.
The main purpose of the company’s participation in licensing rounds offered yearly by the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy is to build up reserves that can sustain future production. This is the most efficient way of building a portfolio of assets with strong value growth potential. The selected areas will also provide an opportunity to enhance the parameters of adjacent blocks already held. In addition, the licensing rounds foster closer ties between the partners. During the previous round (APA 2020), LOTOS Norge was awarded three new licences. The results of the current round will be announced in January 2022.
Harmonisation of NOAKA project interests
On September 9th 2021, LOTOS Norge signed an agreement with AkerBP to harmonise their respective licence interests in the NOA (North of Alvheim) and Fulla areas. The relevant documents will now be submitted for approval to the Norwegian authorities. The agreement has set out rules for LOTOS Norge and AkerBP to swap their interests in eight licences: PL873, PL026B, PL364, PL442, PL442B, PL442C, PL874, PL026. Ultimately, as negotiated between the parties, LOTOS will hold an effective, uniform interest of 12.3% in each of these licence areas.
By giving them equal interests and a more balanced oil/gas production split, the agreement will simplify joint operations and settlements between the partners. As a result, there will be no need for commercial contracts between individual assets as they are brought on stream over time (as necessitated by existing capacity constraints on the processing platform). All this will help boost the project scale for LOTOS, enhancing the value of new prospects discovered in the surrounding area, where the company is engaged in joint operations with AkerBP. A development concept has been selected for the NOAKA field. The Plan for Development and Operations (PDO) is to be drawn up by the end of 2022, with first oil expected in 2027.
NOAKA is one of the key development projects on the North Sea, with total potential of more than 500 mboe of recoverable reserves (for the 100% interest). For LOTOS, the project is a springboard for further expansion on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. It aims to develop several deposits discovered north of Heimdal: Frigg Gamma Delta, Langfjellet, Liatårnet, Rind, Fulla and Froy, where AkerBP is the operator, as well as Krafla and Askja, where LOTOS has no interests and Equinor is the operator.
LOTOS Norge is also about to sign final harmonisation agreements and select a development concept for the Trell/Trine project in the Heimdal area, with AkerBP as the operator. The currently envisaged development option is a subsea tie-back to the floating production, pre-processing, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel in the Alvheim area. The Trell/Trine resources are estimated by the company at approximately 2.6 mboe for the LOTOS interest, with launch of production possible in 2025. The interest to be ultimately held by LOTOS is 11.9%.
Additionally, in August 2021, Repsol, as the operator of the Yme field, received regulatory approval to commence oil production from the project. The first oil date, as currently expected, is the fourth quarter of 2021. The field’s resources have been put at over 12 mbbl for the 20% LOTOS interest.