Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum offers 61 production licenses on the Norwegian continental shelf

Erna Solberg - Equinor HerøyaPhoto: Terje Bendiksby / NTB

The 61 production licenses are located in the North Sea (34), the Norwegian Sea (24), and the Barents Sea (3).

“I am pleased to offer 61 new production licenses in this year’s APA round to a diverse range of companies. 

“These companies have shown great interest in gaining access to new exploration acreage, illustrating the industry’s confidence in continued profitability from exploration on the Norwegian continental shelf.  

“This is good news for the Norwegian state as resource owner,” Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tina Bru noted.

30 oil companies

A total of 30 different oil companies, ranging from large international companies to smaller domestic exploration companies, are offered ownership interests in one or more production licenses. 

Out of these, 18 companies will be offered one or more operatorships. The licenses are awarded with work-program commitments or as additional areas to such licenses.

“The licensing rounds constitute a basic pillar in our petroleum policy. The APA-rounds now include the majority of available exploration acreage on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS). 

“Exploration providing additional discoveries is vital in order to maintain a high level of activity, employment, and revenue over time from Norway’s largest industry. 

“I am impressed by how the industry has dealt with the challenges of 2020, also when it comes to the applications for new acreage. I now eagerly await the commencement of activity and the resulting discoveries,” Bru stated.


The first licensing round on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) took place in 1965. The activity started in the North Sea, and exploration in the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea started around 15 years later. 

Thus, Norway now has more than 40 years of experience with petroleum activity in all sea-areas on the NCS.

The petroleum industry is Norway’s largest sector in terms of value-creation, state revenue, investment, and export value. 

The industry has a significant share of national employment, directly or indirectly, and contributes to activity across the country. 

Since the first oil discovery was made, the sector has contributed to over 15,700 billion NOK in value creation. It has also given the Norwegian state a net cash-flow of over 6,700 billion NOK since the start of the new millennium. 

The state’s net cash-flow from the petroleum sector in 2021 is estimated to be approximately 99 billion NOK, something that approximately equates to an income of 75,000 NOK for a family of four. 

An active exploration policy, including regular licensing rounds on the NCS, will facilitate new discoveries. 

The award of new exploration acreage takes place in two equal licensing rounds. The numbered rounds take place in the least known exploration areas, which for all practical purposes now means remaining parts of the deep-water areas in the Norwegian Sea and parts of the Barents Sea. 

Acreage in the best-known exploration areas is awarded in the annual APA-rounds. As a consequence of the fact that exploration has been going on for decades, most of the North Sea, large parts of the Norwegian Sea, and an increasing area in the Barents Sea are now included in the APA-rounds.

Source: Ministry of Petroleum and Energy / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews


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