Improved access to seismic data, a focus on innovation and a recasting of diverse businesses on the UK Continental Shelf all bode well for the 31st Licensing Round, Oil & Gas UK said today.
The Oil and Gas Authority formally opened the latest licensing round, which focuses on the frontier and underexplored regions in the UK Continental Shelf. The Licensing Round will close on 7 November 2018 with companies expected to find out if their bid is successful in the first half of 2019.
123 licenses were awarded for 229 blocks in mature areas of the UKCS, to 61 companies in the recent 30th Licensing Round in May. The 31st Licensing Round will benefit from fresh seismic data funded in part by HM Treasury, and will be supported over the longer term by increased transparency of data and samples from the new National Data Repository.
Commenting on the news, Oil & Gas UK’s Upstream Policy Director Mike Tholen said: “This is an exciting Licensing Round and is a timely reminder of the wealth of untapped potential which lies in the UK Continental Shelf. The announcement represents the culmination of three year’s close collaboration with the Oil and Gas Authority to update the licensing process and open up under explored acreage on the East Shetland Platform, South Western Approaches, and Mid North Sea High.”
“With an industry-wide focus on efficiency and innovation, a stable fiscal regime, and a positive response to the 30th Round, industry is fit and ready to usher in a new era of exploration in the North Sea.”
“Frontier exploration is however a long game and requires businesses to be confident future opportunities. Fiscal and regulatory stability remains a prerequisite if we are to realise the benefits of exploration activity which is badly needed to boost production and activity.”