It is pivotal to have access to acreage in order to discover oil and gas. Aker BP holds interests in 95 licenses on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS), of which we operate 47.

Aker BP has good access to licences and operatorships on the Norwegian Continental Shelf and is an active explorer. In 2014, the exploration activity was concentrated to the North Sea.

About two thirds of the Aker BP’s exploration budget is invested in the mature areas in the North Sea, where the infrastructure is good and the discovery rate still high. The remaining resources are invested primarily in the Barents Sea and in the more immature areas in the North Sea.

More on licenses

The production licenses are awarded to a commonality of interest, in which normally consists of several companies. The production license regulates each company’s rights and obligations towards the State. All partners in a license are jointly and severally responsible in fulfilling whatever obligations the production license assumes. Initially, the license is valid for a period of up to ten years. During this period, a pre-established work program will be completed in the form of geological and geophysical pre-studies and/or exploration drilling, plus environmental surveys in vulnerable areas.

When a production license has been awarded, the licensees must enter into a joint cooperation and accounting agreement, subject to conditions stipulated by the authorities. These agreements regulate many aspects of the relationship between the partners and the operator, and also the relationship with the authorities. The operator in each production license is appointed by the authorities, and this company is responsible for the day-to-day license operations.

The steering committee is the supreme authority in a production license. Each of the partners in the license is represented on the steering committee. The voting rules are normally designed so that a majority in terms of both interests and the number of votes is required for a decision to be valid. The way the voting rules work, an owner with an interest of more than 50 percent cannot adopt a proposal alone.

The licensees can buy, sell and swap license interests, but this is conditional on the approval of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, as well as by the Ministry of Finance in matters relating to tax.