Norwegian APA 2017 Bid Round – an indicator the offshore market is opening up?

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Recently, the results of the Norwegian APA 2017 Bid Round were released. Out of the 39 companies who put in bids, 75 production licenses were awarded to 34 companies. The 75 production licenses, totaling 22,246 km2, are located offshore Norway in three areas: the North Sea (45 licenses, totaling 964 km2), Norwegian Sea (22 licenses, totaling 9,114 km2), and Barents Sea (8 licenses, totaling 4,167 km2) (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Map showing the 75 production licenses awarded in the Norwegian APA 2017 Bid Round (closed on January 16, 2018); the blocks are colored by operator.

Figure 1: Map showing the 75 production licenses awarded in the Norwegian APA 2017 Bid Round (closed on January 16, 2018); the blocks are colored by operator.


Twenty-two of the production licenses are additional acreage for existing production licenses. Statoil leads the pack with operating interest awarded in 31 licenses over 43 blocks covering just over 7,100 km2, followed by Wintershall with three licenses over 17 blocks totaling just over 3,000 km2 (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Group comparative chart showing the number of blocks with interest awarded and acreage totals by operator of each block in the APA 2017 Bid Round.

Figure 2: Group comparative chart showing the number of blocks with interest awarded and acreage totals by operator of each block in the APA 2017 Bid Round.


Figure 3 shows the overall landscape of Norway including the results of the APA 2017 Bid Round. Figure 4 gets into more detail about Wintershall in the company trend data, showing what their interests are worldwide. In comparison to the 2016 APA Bid Round where 33 companies applied for acreage out of 139,942 km2 offered, with 56 licenses awarded to 29 companies; is this an indication that the offshore market is opening up?
Figure 3: A country look at Norway after the bid round. Statoil has the highest amount of acreage and is a top operator in the area. Country trend data is available in 170 countries globally.

Figure 3: A country look at Norway after the bid round. Statoil has the highest amount of acreage and is a top operator in the area. Country trend data is available in 170 countries globally.


Figure 4: Company trend data for Wintershall, a German oil and natural gas company that is a subsidiary of BASF; interesting to watch as they are currently going through a merger with DEA. While heavily active in the North Sea and Europe, they also have assets in North Africa and the Middle East. This company trend data allows one to learn about the company’s global portfolio and operator positions and is available through the block card information.

Figure 4: Company trend data for Wintershall, a German oil and natural gas company that is a subsidiary of BASF; interesting to watch as they are currently going through a merger with DEA. While heavily active in the North Sea and Europe, they also have assets in North Africa and the Middle East. This company trend data allows one to learn about the company’s global portfolio and operator positions and is available through the block card information.


A look at the planned future bid rounds (Figure 5) within DI International includes the United States GOM Lease Sale 250 to be held in March 2018.
Figure 5: Planned future bid rounds worldwide view showing the number of bid rounds. More information about bid round names and date of bid submission available at Drillinginfo

Figure 5: Planned future bid rounds worldwide view showing the number of bid rounds. More information about bid round names and date of bid submission available at Drillinginfo


Over the next two years, Australia will have their 2018 and 2019 Exploration Bid Rounds. The 37 licenses being offered are scattered offshore Victoria, Western, and Southern Australia plus onshore Queensland and Western Australia. The Nigerian Marginal Fields Licensing Round was moved back from 2017 to an unknown future date due to the awaited approval of the president, who was on medical leave in the UK. The Nigerian Marginal Fields Licensing Round will be for Nigerian companies only, as Western companies are waiting for the offshore round. DI International scouts report that a potential offshore bid round requires the passage of the Petroleum Industries Bill (PIB), which only has one of three parts approved; the bidding process is expected to heavily reply on the terms of the PIB.

In addition to announced, planned bid rounds, Drillinginfo scouts have used their networks to compile information about potential bid rounds (Figure 6), including the information about the potential Nigerian offshore round previously mentioned.

Figure 6: Worldwide look at potential future bid rounds showing number of bid rounds possibly available for licensing. More information about bid round names and date of bid submission available at Drillinginfo.

Figure 6: Worldwide look at potential future bid rounds showing number of bid rounds possibly available for licensing. More information about bid round names and date of bid submission available at Drillinginfo.


Moving to another African country just south, phase 2 of the Congo Licensing Round is expected to launch in Q1 2018. Offering both onshore and offshore blocks. Northwest Africa has seen a huge amount of offshore acreage awarded in the last three months, but via negotiations with planned bid rounds being bypassed entirely. Within Mexico, Pemex is actively looking for partners on their blocks onshore and working with the government to improve the fiscal terms, hoping to lead to enhanced production of these older onshore fields, like Cacalilao, Samaria, and Sunuapa.

These indicate that there is opportunity worldwide for companies with the funding and desire to explore in the offshore and onshore international regime. Figure 7 pulls all the future opportunities together on one map, showing the wide variety of options worldwide.

Figure 7: Worldwide look at all future bid rounds, both planned and potential. Information about bid round names, date of bid submission, and more available at Drillinginfo.

Figure 7: Worldwide look at all future bid rounds, both planned and potential. Information about bid round names, date of bid submission, and more available at Drillinginfo.


With the rising oil prices, will more opportunities become available? Will more companies join the global exploration game? 2018 will be an interesting year to track activity! Plan to be ahead of that activity by using the Drillinginfo International tool.
Interested in learning more? Please contact Robyn Marchand, Technical Advisor – DrillingInfo. [email protected]

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Robyn Marchand

Robyn Marchand is a geoscientist with 15+ years’ experience exploring Unconventional & deep-water Conventional basins, using multivariate statistical analysis & generating economic models. She is currently a Technical Advisor at DrillingInfo based in Houston, TX.