The 23rd License Round includes blocks located further north and further east than ever before in Norwegian waters. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

These companies want to drill in Arctic Norway

A total of 26 companies sign up for 57 license blocks in Norwegian Arctic waters.
December 04, 2015


Information from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate show big interest in the 57 license blocks offered as part of the 23rd Norwegian License Round. A total of 26 companies registered their license applications by the deadline of 2nd December, the Directorate informs.

All the blocks are located in northern Norwegian waters, 54 of them in the Barents Sea and the remaining 3 in the Norwegian Sea.

“It is gratifying to see that so many competent companies want to explore in new acreage during a time when we are experiencing low oil prices and cost cuts. This shows that the companies recognise opportunities and the potential of finding oil and gas in these new areas,” comments Sissel Eriksen, exploration director at the NPD.

The list displayed by the Directorate is however significantly shorter than for the 22nd License Round. Then, a total of 36 companies applied.

Among the applicants are Russian companies Rosneft and Lukoil.  

The 23rd License Round is significanlty behind the original time schedule.

When announcing the round in January 2015, Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tord Lien said it was “a milestone” in Norwegian petroluem history.


“For the first time since 1994, we will explore an entirely new area on the Norwegian Shelf. This will generate unique possibilities for value creation, growth and employment opportunities, particularly for Northern Norway,” Tord Lien said, a ministry press release read.

The license round includes blocks located further east and further north than ever before on the Norwegian shelf. The license map shows that eight blocks are located immediately along the borderline with Russia. Another eight blocks are located to the north of the 74th parallel, not far from the area covered by ice during parts of the year.

The Norwegian government argues that all the new license blocks are well south of the ice-covered area and that oil exploration should be considered safe.

See the list of the 26 license applicant companies here


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