Norway forging ahead with oil and gas development “for decades to come” despite environmental lobby

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In defiance of mounting environmental concerns and lobby pressures, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in Norway has announced that it has received applications from 25 companies, eager to explore and produce petroleum resources. This move is part of the APA 2023 licensing round on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Renowned energy giants such as Equinor, TotalEnergies, and ConocoPhillips are among the high-profile companies in this bid.

Terje Aasland, the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, emphasized the nation’s long-term vision, stating, “Without exploration and new discoveries, we cannot maintain the production of oil and gas over time or further develop the petroleum sector and all the jobs in the industry.” 

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Introduced in 2003, APA represents an annual licensing round focusing on the most explored zones on the Norwegian shelf. This mechanism ensures a continuous replenishment of exploration areas, promoting effective resource identification and extraction in mature areas. Over the years, APA has been expanded in line with growing geological knowledge. This year witnessed an extension of the predefined area, specifically in the North Sea and the Barents Sea regions.

Companies’ participation in such rounds is crucial for achieving efficient exploration, tapping into time-sensitive resources, and maximising the use of existing infrastructure. Today, the APA area represents the majority of open and accessible exploration territories on the Norwegian continental shelf.

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The APA 2023 was formally announced on May 10, 2023, and the application deadline was set for August 23. The Ministry plans to award the new production licenses at the beginning of 2024.


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