New Offshore Acreage Licensing to Drop 60% in 2020, Rystad says

Newly licensed offshore oil and gas exploration acreage is likely to fall by about 60% and onshore acreage by 30% compared with 2019 levels, Rystad Energy has said, as the Norwegian energy market analytics company expects more than half of the world’s planned licensing rounds to be canceled this year due to the combined effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and the low oil prices.

“This year was slated to be another remarkable year for exploration with about 45 countries launching at least 52 lease rounds, about 60% of them in offshore areas. The decline in the expected number of lease rounds compared to last year’s 69 was not a sign of fewer countries offering new licenses, but a result of several countries offering multiple rounds in 2019, including Brazil, Ukraine, India and the United States,” Rystad said.

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