The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) announced Wednesday that it has offered 123 licenses, over 229 blocks or part-blocks, to 61 companies in the 30th Offshore Licensing Round.
Awards have been offered to a “broad spectrum of companies”, including “supermajors” and new entrants, the OGA confirmed.
“The UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) is back. Big questions facing the basin have been answered in this round,” Andy Samuel, chief executive at the OGA, said in an organization statement.
“Exploration is very much alive with lots of prospects generated and new wells to be drilled … I’m looking to industry to rapidly press ahead with these activities and maximize recovery from these great opportunities,” he added.
The OGA said it provided a number of incentives to support the round and stimulate interest, including an extended 120-day application period, and a suite of new data and analyses.
If the offers, which total an area of 26,659 square kilometers, are taken up, the additional area under license will be an increase of 50 percent on existing acreage held, the OGA revealed.
“It’s great to see so many companies submitting applications as this demonstrates another vote of confidence in exploring for oil and gas on the UKCS,” Deirdre Michie, chief executive of industry body Oil & Gas UK, said in an organization statement.
“We now need these opportunities to be pursued with a sense of urgency to help unlock activity for our hard-pressed supply chain and ensure we start to mitigate the potential drop off in production post-2020,” Deirdre added.
Lord Duncan, parliamentary under-secretary for Scotland, said the license awards were welcome news for the Scottish economy and the UK as a whole.
“The oil and gas industry is vital for the UK and the further exploration opportunities being created will help find potential new deposits and boost job prospects,” Duncan said in a government statement.
Chris Pearson, small pools solution center manager at the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, said the outcome of the 30th Licensing Round was “very promising”.
“We look forward to working with the successful applicants to help unlock the potential of the undeveloped discoveries and use the learnings to drive international growth and export opportunities,” Pearson said in an organization statement.
The OGA plans to launch the 31st Licensing Round this summer, which it says will provide “high-impact exploration opportunities in under-explored and frontier areas of the UKCS”. The round will cover areas including the East Shetland Platform, North West Scotland, South West Britain and the Mid North Sea High.
In a video released on the OGA’s Twitter page, OGA Exploration and New Ventures Manager Nick Richardson confirmed that applications for the 31st round will be evaluated towards the end of the year.