Norway, the main West European supplier of long-term pipeline natural gas directly to Germany, France Belgium and the UK, said seven companies had applied for production licences in the 25th licensing round on the Norwegian shelf with any gas finds providing more competition to LNG cargoes from outside the region.
“The numbered rounds are focused on key parts in our least explored, open areas,” said Tina Bru, the Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy.
“They are an important supplement to the APA (awards in pre-defined areas) rounds as exploration activity in immature areas gives the state as a resource owner more knowledge about the resource potential,” explained Bru.
Norway, while being the main pipeline natural gas supplier to Europe, along with Russia’s Gazprom, is in competition to LNG deliveries from nations such as Qatar, the US, Nigeria, Algeria and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as Russia.
The Norwegians are also the only large-scale producers of LNG in Western Europe from the Hammerfest LNG plant, which has been closed until the third quarter of 2021 because of ongoing repairs from a fire in September 2020.
The plant fire, in which no one was killed nor injured, saw damage mostly from the large amounts of seawater from the extinguishing process downing auxiliary systems such as electrical equipment and cables.
The 25th licensing round comprises nine areas outside the APA area on the Norwegian shelf.
The round was announced on the 19th of November 2020 and includes one area in the Norwegian Sea and eight in the Barents Sea.