The UK’s 28th offshore licensing round has resulted in the issuance of 134 licenses covering 252 blocks. The announcement was made by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change.
“This successful licensing round, which is on track to be one of the biggest rounds ever in 5 decades, is a boost for the UK economy and shows that our long-term economic plan is working,” said Matthew Hancock, UK business and energy minister.
“This news is a good sign that investors continue to show interest in the basin,” said Oonagh Werngren, operations director for Oil & Gas UK. “It is interesting to note more than 60 companies applied for licenses in the round and that the majority comprised smaller investors. Perhaps what is most telling is the nature of the work programs that the companies have committed to, with only five firm wells and four contingent wells being included. Most licenses have been awarded on the basis of obtaining or reprocessing 2D and 3D seismic data. The disappointingly low number of wells highlights the need to stimulate new plays through detailed technical work which requires measures to encourage more investment in the UKCS.”
Statoil ASA said it was awarded interests in 12 licenses, nine as operator. The additional acreage covers almost 8,000 sq km.
Statoil said significant positions have been taken both in mature parts of the central North Sea, such as in the vicinity of the Mariner and Bressay projects, and in relation to plays largely untested in UK waters.
Maersk Oil said it was awarded five licenses, three of which will be operated by Maersk. Two of the licenses awarded, 15/18b and 15/20d, include the Yeoman and Tap o’Noth discoveries near Maersk’s Quad 15 core producing assets. The awarded Glengorm and Sween licenses comprise high-pressure high-temperature prospects and discoveries, respectively.
Enquest was awarded eight operated licenses, and Nexen seven, according to the UK government’s web site.