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Norway awards 69 oil, gas production licenses to 28 companies

Norway offered 28 companies ownership interests in 69 petroleum production licenses on the Norwegian Continental Shelf in its 2019 licensing round, according to a Jan. 14 news release from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.

Of the blocks, 13 are in the Barents Sea, 23 in the Norwegian Sea and 33 in the North Sea, the regulatory agency said in the release, and 18 of the production licenses are additional acreage to existing production licenses or agreement-based areas.

Norway's Equinor ASA said, in a separate Jan. 14 news release, that it was awarded 14 blocks that Equinor will operate and nine blocks that will be operated by a partner. Eni SpA subsidiary Vår Energi AS said in its Jan. 14 news release that it was granted 17 licenses and will operate seven. Aker BP ASA said Jan. 14 that it was offered interests in 15 licenses and will operate nine of those. Lundin Petroleum AB (publ) disclosed Jan. 14 that its subsidiary Lundin Norway AS bagged 12 licenses, with seven to be operated by the company.

Reuters reported Jan. 14 that Royal Dutch Shell PLC, TOTAL SA and ConocoPhillips Co. also won blocks but did not disclose the number of licenses awarded. The report also said that Chrysaor Holdings Ltd. and Neptune Energy Ltd. received stakes in eight and 13 blocks, respectively.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said it received applications from 33 companies for the licensing round, known as Awards in Predefined Areas, which it said is designed to focus on already explored and established oil and gas producing areas and to encourage companies to test new ideas. The agency said on its website that the number of applications demonstrated companies' continued interest in the Norwegian Continental Shelf.