The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) announced today it has launched its 29th Offshore Licensing Round, with more than 1,200 blocks on offer.
The move follows OGA’s attempt to support the maximisation of economic recovery (MER) from the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).
“We recognise that market conditions are currently very difficult but nevertheless we have a shared goal of making the basin as attractive as possible for exploration,” OGA Chief Executive, Andy Samuel, said.
UK Kicks Off 29th Offshore Round
Oil and gas companies can now apply for new licenses to drill for offshore oil and gas in several frontier areas of the UKCS in a £20 million programme, targeted at under explored areas of the UKCS.
This licensing round marks the launch of the “Innovate License” concept, which allows licensees to work with OGA to design an optimal work programme, enabling an appropriate phasing of activity, rental fees and competency tests.
As well as this, this enables a better monitoring of progress than the previous licensing regime, OGA explained.
The latest round follows on the success of the 28th Round, which took place in 2015 and was one of the largest licensing rounds in the country.
Companies will have until 2 PM on 26th October 2016 to apply for the blocks on offer.
New Opportunities on the UK Continental Shelf
“We’ve listened to industry feedback and have introduced more flexibility in the licensing regime and opened up potential new areas for licensing,” Samuel added.
“The combination of, for the first time, freely available seismic data and the flexible “Innovate Licence” is a compelling package and the result of many months of collaboration between the OGA and industry to stimulate further drilling and maximise economic recovery of the UK’s oil and gas resources,” he stated further.
The Minister of State at the Department for Business, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, welcomed the new licensing round saying it has “highlighted more of the opportunities that are still out there in the UK Continental Shelf”.