Today, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy is announcing the annual licencing round for mature areas on the continental shelf. The aim is to award new production licences in the announced areas in early 2013.
“Awards in pre-defined areas (APA) is an important tool in managing the petroleum resources on the Norwegian shelf and they are also a key instrument in our strategy for the mature areas. Small discoveries can be tied in to existing infrastructure and there may also be a potential for independent developments. The result is extended lifetimes for existing infrastructure and production from new discoveries, in other words a win-win situation,” says Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe.
APA 2012 has expanded the pre-defined area by a total of 48 blocks or parts of blocks, compared with the area in APA 2011, distributed among two in the North Sea, 13 in the Norwegian Sea and 33 in the Barents Sea. This APA expansion represents follow-up of the decisions made in the management plans and the expansion is important in order to achieve the goals for further petroleum activities set in the Petroleum White Paper.
“Decisions in the management plans have formed the basis for this year’s APA expansion and this ensures sound management of important environmental and fishery concerns. The expansion is important for continued good resource utilisation. In the Barents Sea, it provides the opportunity for further exploration around Goliat and Snøhvit, while the expansion in the North Sea provides new, interesting blocks near Gjøa. In the Norwegian Sea, the blocks represent exciting opportunities in a time when new infrastructure is being planned,” says Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe.
The application deadline has been set at 6 September 2012, at 12 noon.
The complete announcement text, updated map of announced blocks, conditions related to the environment and fisheries interest and further information can be found on the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate's website.
Map of APA 2012 Awards
The criteria for mature areas are laid out in Storting White Paper No. 28 (2010-2011) An industry for the future – Norway’s petroleum activities. The following criteria form the basis for expanding the APA area:
- The area is near infrastructure. This includes both existing and planned infrastructure. Potential resources in the areas are considered time-critical.
- The area has exploration history. This includes areas which have previously been awarded and relinquished, areas with known geological plays and areas located between awarded and relinquished areas.
- Areas which border existing pre-defined areas, but which have not been applied for in numbered rounds.
Awards in pre-defined areas is the annual licencing round in geologically mature areas. The scheme was established in 2003 and the area may be expanded, but not decreased, within the framework set by the management plans. While the numbered licencing rounds include frontier areas, the APA scheme ensures exploration of mature areas on the Norwegian shelf. The scheme is an important contribution toward maintaining activity and production on the continental shelf.
Through Storting White Paper No. 28 (2010-2011) An industry for the future – Norway’s petroleum activities, the government announced that it will:
- Carry out the APA scheme as an annual licencing round in all mature acreage on the Norwegian shelf so as to contribute to maintain activity and production.
- Within the framework of the management plans, use technical petroleum assessments as the basis for which areas are included in the APA area.
- Introduce public consultations in APA rounds. As regards areas with a management plan, input is requested only in relation to new significant information made available after the relevant management plan was adopted.
The management plans are the government’s tool in managing the sea areas on the Norwegian continental shelf. The purpose of the management plans is to facilitate value creation through sustainable use of resources and assets in the sea area and simultaneously maintain the ecosystems’ structure, mechanisms, productivity and biodiversity. The plans are based on many thorough studies and represent a comprehensive process where various considerations are weighed against each other. The plans therefore lay down a framework for where and on which terms petroleum activities may take place for the sea areas included in a management plan. Proposed areas for announcement in an APA round will therefore be within the framework set for the area by the management plans.
A public consultation system was introduced for APA 2012. Its goal is to collect any new, significant information which has not been included in the management plans or important information and considerations in areas which are not included in management plans.