Hurricane Energy wins new West of Shetland oil exploration licences – but N. Sea business confidence remains anchored in negative sentiment

Hurricane Energy oil workers
Hurricane Energy oil workers

Hurricane Energy has been identified as one of the successful bidders which won new N. Sea oil exploration contracts in the latest licensing round.

Earlier this week, the UK Dept of Energy (DECC) awarded 41 new licences to unidentified applicants.

Hurricane Energy has been successful in its applications for two further West of Shetland blocks.

Dr Robert Trice, Chief Executive, commented: “While our immediate focus is on achieving an early production system on our Lancaster discovery, Hurricane’s longer term strategy remains the delivery of the UK’s basement play.

“I am therefore delighted that Hurricane has been offered these two new blocks in which we have identified material basement prospectivity which is analogous to our substantial Lancaster discovery.

“Our work commitment on these licences is a ‘drill or drop’ on either of the identified prospects which, following the implementation of a successful Lancaster early production system, provides Hurricane with the potential for further high value, relatively low-risk, near-field exploration.”

The Dept of Energy has not responded to requests from Scottish Energy News for details of all other successful licence-applicants. See full story:

Meanwhile, North Sea Business Sentiment Index for the second quarter of 2015 shows that – overall – the UK oil and gas industry remains deeply mired in negative sentiment.

Pessimism has moderated with respondents returning a score of minus 27 on a -50/+50 scale, up four points from minus 31 reported by the survey in the first quarter of the year.

The UK Oil and Gas index measures a number of economic indicators including business confidence, activity levels, business revenue, investment and employment – with a higher rating (above zero) indicating a more positive outlook and a lower rating (below zero) expressing a more negative opinion.

Oonagh Werngren, Oil & Gas UK operations director, commented: “A number of companies have already put significant effort into tackling cost and improving efficiency and are beginning to see the impact of these efforts.

“While contractors cite uncertainty regarding future orders as a concern, they also highlight improvements in how their clients engage with them to identify cost–effective ways to address the current business climate.

“For small to medium enterprises (SMEs) the main issue is ensuring they are paid in a timely manner, a principle enshrined in the industry’s Supply Chain Code of Practice – a key tool for the industry to help ensure its cost base remains competitive.”

“While the overall index remains in negative territory for the fourth quarter in a row, this slight improvement in mood is the first upward movement we have seen since 1Q2013.”

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