According to a statement made by Energy Minister Tina Bru on Tuesday, 30 oil companies in its latest pre-defined areas (APA) licensing round as they seek to find more resources close to existing fields, and Norway awarded 61 offshore exploration sections.
Norway started oil and gas extraction from its marine continental mantle in the last 50 years and still considers that it has only drawn about half of its available sources.
Equinor, Shell, Aker BP, ConocoPhillips, Total, Lundin Energy, and Eni's Vaar Energi are the companies that have acquired stakes in the licenses.
Further, Bru said, "these companies have exhibited great curiosity in obtaining access to supplementary exploration acreage, illustrating the industry's confidence in continued profitability from exploration on the Norwegian continental shelf."
APA rounds include fields with known geology or near surviving infrastructural base.
Further, Anniken Hauglie, who directs the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, an industry group, said that "the broad interest shows that companies still believe in the Norwegian continental shelf and in the future profitability of exploration."
Here, Sweden's Lundin acquired stakes in 19 licenses, Equinor with stakes in 17 licenses, while Aker BP and DNO got 10, respectively. ConocoPhillips acquired stakes in four licenses, a Total in three, and Shell in one. Vaar Energi will operate all three licenses granted in the Arctic Barents Sea.
RN Nordic Oil, a unit of Russia's Rosneft, and Horisont Energi are the three companies on the original list of applicants that did not receive any acreage. Among them, Horisont Energi is a firm committed to hydrogen, ammonia, and carbon storage solutions.
Japan's Idemitsu is the third company left off the list of awards, and this firm recently traded much of its oil and gas business in Norway to Lundin Energy.
Along with this, Norway has asked oil firms to present applications by Feb. 23 for 136 exploration blocks in country fields in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea.
The country's top court declined a lawsuit the last December by environmental groups on oil exploration in Arctic waters.
Norway is one of western Europe's largest oil and gas producers who produce 4 million oil-equivalent barrels daily.