Specifically, Minister of Petroleum and Energy Kjell-Borge Freiberg announced the proposition to add 90 blocks to the Awards in Predefined Areas (APA). APA is the yearly licensing round for the best known areas on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, and includes large parts of all available exploration acreage.

The majority of the proposed blocks are located in the Barents Sea.

Moreover, the Government proposes an extension of 48 blocks in the Barents Sea, 37 blocks in the Norwegian Sea and 5 blocks in the North Sea.

The Minister commented

Maintaining the positive development in exploration activity in the Barents Sea is important. I hope this will contribute to robust development solutions and to increased value creation in the North.

For the time being, Norway operates one producing field in the Barents Sea,  Var Energi’s Goliat, with Equinor’s Johan Castberg field expected to be the second in 2022.

OMV, an Austrian oil company, recently increased its estimated recoverable volumes in the company’s Wisting discovery in the Barents Sea offshore Norway, to  440 million barrels of oil compared to 350 million barrels in 2017.

The final concept is expected to be in 2020, as the company looks at an FPSO development for the Wisting.

In general, in January 2019, Norway offered 83 production licenses on the Norwegian continental shelf, with Equinor winning 29 of them.

The 83 production licenses were distributed over the North Sea (37), the Norwegian Sea (32) and the Barents Sea (14).