In new Norwegian oil license round, a touch of Russia

The 22nd Norwegian License Round will bring the Norwegian oil industry further north and closer to Russia. Map:

As many as 72 of the blocks announced in the 22nd License Round are located in the Barents Sea, and several of them in the immediate proximity to the Russian border. Both Rosneft and Lukoil are likely to take part in the round.


A total of 86 blocks are included in the 22nd License Round announced by Minister of Oil and Energy Ola Borten Moe on Tuesday. While 14 of the blocks are located in the Norwegian Sea, the remaining 72 blocks are all located in the Barents Sea, the announcement shows.

“The Barents Sea is now a Sea of Opportunities”, Borten Moe says in a press release. “We have had very promising exploration results, and I now give the industry access to new areas connected with these discoveries”, the minister adds.

Several of the new blocks are located in the easternmost part of the Norwegian Barents Sea. One of them, the block 7231, appears to be located directly along the border to Russia. In case a major discovery is made in the license, a carefully described set of regulations on cross-border cooperation will apply. The regulations are part of the Norwegian-Russian Delimitation Agreement on the Barents Sea and Arctic Ocean, a deal which came into force in summer 2011.

The deadline for applicants are 4 December and licenses are expected to be issued before summer 2013.

Among the applicants for the licenses are likely to be both Rosneft and Lukoil. The two companies will be the first Russian companies ever entering the Norwegian shelf. While Lukoil in 2011 prequalified for operations in Norwegian waters, Rosneft in June announced its intention to prequalify and subsequently take part in field developments together with Statoil.