Facilitating Further Exploration

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 3/17/2022, Location: Europe

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has sent a proposal to announce the licensing round APA 2022 (Award in Pre-defined Areas) for public consultation.

— Access to new, attractive exploration acreage is a pillar in the Government’s policy for further development of the petroleum industry. In this year's proposed APA round, we are facilitating new discoveries in the years ahead. New discoveries are crucial for ensuring jobs, value creation and production, says Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Mr. Terje Aasland.

The proposal entails that new acreage in the Barents Sea blocks is included in the APA area. The Ministry aims to implement APA 2022 in line with the usual schedule. That means announcement with an application deadline in the third quarter of 2022 and award in January 2023.

Link to consultation page
Since exploration activity has been going on for decades in the open accessible exploration area of The Norwegian Continental Shelf, the majority of available area is covered by the APA rounds. APA include most of the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and a large part of the southern Barents Sea.

All licensing rounds are carried out in areas that are open for petroleum activity and within the area-based framework from the management plans for our sea areas.

In the consultation round, input is only requested from the consultation bodies if they believe there is new, significant information that is relevant regarding where there may be petroleum activity in the open, accessible areas. This applies from the last time the Parliament dealt with this issue, which was in the summer of 2020.

Allocation in predefined areas (APA) was introduced in 2003 to facilitate timely exploration of the most geologically known parts of the shelf. In these areas, the expected discovery size is declining. The companies are mainly looking for minor discoveries that do not justify independent development. These discoveries can be profitable when seen in connection with other discoveries and/or can utilize existing or planned infrastructure. Timely exploration of these areas is therefore important.

To achieve effective exploration, the companies need regular replenishment of new area and predictability about available areas to apply for in the APA process. Upon announcement, an assessment is made of whether the area covered by the scheme (APA area) is to be expanded. Professional assessments decide whether new areas are to be added to the APA area. The area expands as new areas are explored.

The petroleum activities in Norway take place under strict requirements for health, safety and the environment. emphasis is placed on ensuring coexistence with other users of the oceans.

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