OSLO, Sept 4 (Reuters) - A total of 33 oil companies submitted bids for exploration blocks offshore Norway in a so-called predefined areas (APA) licensing round, the Ministry of Oil and Energy said on Wednesday.
This year's round included 48 blocks in the Barents Sea, 37 blocks in the Norwegian Sea and five in the North Sea.
Bidders included oil majors Shell, ConocoPhillips and Total. Equinor, Aker BP , Lundin Petroleum, DNO and Eni's Vaar Energi were also on the list.
After processing the applications, the ministry aims to award licenses in early 2020
Annual APA rounds are aimed at expanding acreage around the explored areas, where new discoveries can be tied in to the existing pipelines and platforms.
Separate from the APA awards, Norway also conducts numbered licensing rounds, which include frontier parts of the Norwegian continental shelf, such as the eastern Barents Sea. (Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Terje Solsvik)