In the early 2000s the Norwegian authorities introduced several measures to stimulate exploration and production activities on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS). The number of applicants in the 2016 NCS licensing round in pre-defined (mature) areas dropped to 33 from 47 in 2014 and 43 in 2015. In light of this, it is useful to examine the existing NCS market and some of the fundamental drivers and trends looking ahead.
For many decades, the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) has offered great opportunities for petroleum exploration and production. While many areas are now mature, virgin areas still remain. Applications for acreage in the 23rd NCS licensing round were due in November 2015. The applications submitted indicate that, despite lower oil prices and a high-cost, high-risk environment, there is still reasonable interest in exploration in the far north.