Licensing rounds are held at regular intervals for the unlicensed areas west of 6° 15' eastern longitude. When a licensing round is opened, a letter inviting applications is published. The invitation will contain the requirements for applications, selection criteria and terms and conditions, etc.
Interested parties can get a general idea of the applicable requirements, terms and conditions, etc., by looking at the invitation issued for the most recent licensing round, the 8th Round.
The goal is to initiate future licensing rounds about one year after completion of the latest licensing round.
The Open Door procedure
The Open Door procedure applies to all unlicensed areas east of 6° 15' eastern longitude. This means that oil companies can continually apply for licences within an annual application period from 2 January through 30 September.
The procedure applies to areas in which no commercial oil or gas discoveries have so far been made. The conditions for granting licences in the Open Door area are therefore more lenient than in the western part of the North Sea where licensing rounds are held. For example, this applies to the work programme requirements.
Exploration for shale gas
In 2012 a temporary halt was placed on issuing new licences for exploration for shale gas. The temporary stop was introduced to investigate the possibilities of promoting safe and environmentally sound production of shale gas. Therefore, licences for shale gas exploration cannot be granted at present.