This paper examines the role of stewardship in offshore petroleum licensing systems, comparing Australia, Norway and the United Kingdom. These countries face similar challenges such as ageing infrastructure as production areas reach maturity, but have taken different approaches to evolving their ideas of stewardship to deal with them. One such approach is the UK's recently introduced strategy of maximising economic recovery of UK petroleum, which is indicative of a profound change to the traditional concession model on which its system is based. That model focuses on production in an individual licence area rather than achieving maximum value for the nation. This paper explores how this and other innovative approaches to stewardship can produce improved outcomes for the management of offshore petroleum and other natural resources, and in doing so suggests a way forward for countries like Australia who have relied on the concession model.