UK regulator awards 41 new offshore exploration licenses

Offshore staff

LONDON – The UK’s Oil and Gas Authority has announced the remaining winners from the 28th Offshore Licensing Round.

The UK regulator said it was one of the largest rounds in the five decades since the first licensing round took place in 1964. There were 41 new licenses awarded, in addition to the 134 confirmed in late 2014, making a total of 175 licenses covering 353 blocks.

The 28th Offshore Licensing Round was launched on Jan. 24, 2014, and a total of 173 applications were received. The main tranche of awards was announced in November 2014 and the newest awards have been confirmed following additional environmental assessment and consultation.

 “The new licenses are in a range of locations from mature, well-explored basins, to frontier acreage in the Rockall Trough and St George’s Channel basin to the west of the UK, with licenses awarded to both experienced operators and relatively new players,” Oonagh Werngren, operations director for Oil & Gas UK, said in response to the licensing round.

“Of concern, however, is that only one firm well and five new 3D seismic programs appear to have been bid on the acreage, with the majority of licenses being awarded on the basis of reprocessing or obtaining old 2D and 3D data.

“The oil and gas industry is facing a number of major challenges, including the need to stimulate exploration, so today’s announcement, in conjunction with the new government-funded 2D seismic program in the Rockall Trough and the mid-North Sea, provides welcome stimulus for the basin and demonstrates that explorers still consider the UK continental shelf prospective territory for the future.”


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