The 41 new licences awarded today in addition to the 134 confirmed in late 2014 makes this one of the largest rounds in the five decades since the first licensing round took place in 1964 – a total of 175 licences covering 353 blocks.
The 28th Offshore Licensing Round was launched on 24 January 2014 and a total of 173 applications were received. The main tranche of awards was announced on 6 November 2014 and today’s awards have been confirmed following additional environmental assessment and consultation.
Andy Samuel, Chief Executive, Oil and Gas Authority, said: “The North Sea remains a world-class hydrocarbon province where significant resources and economic value remain to be realised. The good level of interest in the 28th Round highlights the continued attractiveness of the UK’s oil and gas resources.
“Licences are however just a start and industry, government and the OGA now need to work together to revitalise exploration activity across the basin and convert licences into successful exploration wells.”
Andrea Leadsom, junior UK Energy Minister said: “We are determined to make the most of our North Sea resources to provide secure, reliable energy for hardworking families and businesses and reduce our reliance on volatile foreign imports.
“We are backing our oil and gas industry which supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across the UK.
The 28th offshore licensing round comes after the Government announced a major package of support in March to encourage £4 billion of additional investment in the North Sea which will prolong the life of this vital industry.”