New frontier areas on offer as OGA opens 31st N. Sea oil and gas licence bidding round

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) today launches the 31st North Sea oil and gas licensing round, which offers blocks in frontier areas , supported by government-funded data to stimulate interest in these under-explored basins and assist companies in their activities.

A total of 1,766 blocks (370,000 km2) of open acreage is now available across the West of Scotland, the East Shetland Platform, the Mid North Sea High, south west UK and parts of the Channel.

This is supported by more than 80,000 km of high-quality, publicly-available seismic data generated through the 2015 and 2016 seismic programmes.

As a result of high levels of industry interest following the 30th Round, the OGA is also offering companies the opportunity to propose additional blocks in more mature areas, for possible inclusion where applicants intend to commit to a substantial firm work programme.

Bids should be made to the OGA in writing before 18 July 2019. The OGA reserves the right to instead offer nominated blocks in a subsequent licence offering.

Companies have until 1400hrs on 7 November 2018 to apply for blocks on offer in the 31stRound. Decisions are expected to be made as early as possible in the first half of 2019.

Dr. Andy Samuel
Dr. Andy Samuel

Dr Andy Samuel, Chief Executive of the OGA, said the licensing strategy is an important step in unlocking new opportunities and maximising value from our resources.

He said: “Following hot on the heels of the strong industry response to the 30th Round, the OGA is opening up large areas of acreage to industry that offer the opportunity for high-impact exploration growth.

“The array of measures put in place by the OGA over the last two years, coupled with the UK’s highly attractive fiscal regime and openly-accessible data have laid the foundation for the ongoing revival in exploration activity across all areas of the Continental Shelf.”

A full list of the blocks on offer can be viewed on the OGA web page:

Meanwhile Oil & Gas UK has commended the UK Government for its continued support for the industry, with inclusion of Transferable Tax History (TTH) in its draft Finance Bill clauses published last week.

TTH allows additional investment to be unlocked in the North Sea by enabling more assets to change hands and aids new owners when providing fresh investment to many mature oil and gas fields.

Mike Tholen, Upstream Policy Director, Oil & Gas UK, said: “TTH will help increase recovery from existing fields and encourage fresh investment which will both help generate activity for our hard-pressed supply chain. It will also help extend the lives of many mature fields and postpone decommissioning.

“We look forward to continuing our work with Government for these measures to be put in law and available for use to industry for deals from 1 November 2019. This in turn will ensure industry continues to provide security of energy supply for the longer term, contributing billions to the economy and supporting hundreds of thousands of high-value jobs.”

10 Jul 2018

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