OGA calls on industry to sink 50 new oil exploration wells to ‘revitalise’ N. Sea

The 29th oil and gas licensing round 'frontier areas'  are outlined in white
The 29th British oil and gas licensing round ‘frontier areas’ are outlined in white

Britain’s oil and gas regulator threw down the challenge to oil exploration companies to drill more oil exploration wells over the next five years.

The OGA aims to ‘revitalise’ N. Sea oil exploration by achieving a target of 50 appraisal wells by 2021. 

Gunther Newcombe, Head of Exploration and Production at OGA, explained: “We aim to revitalise exploration in the UKCS in order to add reserves to replace production and secure longevity of the North Sea. Our top three priorities are to: –


  • Promote exploration potential and improve technical understanding
  • Optimise licensing to maximise frontier and mature potential, and
  • Incentivise exploration through a combination of fiscal and non-fiscal initiatives

 “Considerable potential remains in both mature and frontier areas of UKCS North Sea. We’ve recovered some 43 billion barrels to date, and estimate that there’s another 20 billion barrels still left to go.


“The North Sea has both mature and frontier potential – up to another 9 billion barrels of ‘mature oil’ still to be found – and our seismic programme and associated studies is aimed at unlocking the full frontier potential


“We are working closely with industry and government to revitalise exploration, and the challenge is now on the industry to increase seismic coverage and exploration drilling in UKCS.”


OGA’s 29th Licensing Round has already been dubbed the ‘Frontier Round’ for creating exploration blocs in at the outer limits of UK territorial waters (see graphic, above).

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