Illustration; Source: Baron Oil

Blame for UK offshore oil & gas license abandonment pinned on wind farm construction ops

Great Britain-based and AIM-listed oil and gas exploration and appraisal player Baron Oil has underlined that the blame for an unfulfilled license requirement and subsequent relinquishment of offshore license in UK waters rests squarely on wind farm construction activities.

Illustration; Source: Baron Oil

As a result of delays to the acquisition of 3D seismic data for the license P2478 located off the coast of the UK, the license was expected to be surrendered to the UK North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) on March 31, 2024, according to Baron, which holds a 32% interest while Upland Resources has a 32% stake, and Reabold Resources owns the remaining 36% interest as the license administrator.

The acquisition of a minimum of 30 square kilometers of 3D seismic data was stipulated in the deed of variation concerning a two-year extension to phase A of the license such that a ‘drill or drop’ decision was required on or before July 14, 2025. The 3D seismic data was expected to further reduce pre-drill risks and volumetric uncertainty before re-engaging with potentially interested third parties regarding drilling an exploration well.

Located in the Inner Moray Firth, the P2478 license blocks 12/27c,17/5,18/1, and 18/2 contain the Dunrobin and Golspie set of prospects, which consist of large shallow rotated fault blocks mapped mostly on 3D seismic data with candidate direct hydrocarbon indicators.

Therefore, completing the 3D coverage over the Dunrobin West prospect was expected to enable further insights into the prospective reservoir and de-risk potential follow-ups on Dunrobin Central, East, and Golspie analogous prospects.

Baron Oil’s UK license map; Source: Baron Oil

Baron Oil claims that “unavoidable and significant” delays to the acquisition of the 3D seismic data largely result from the continuous wind farm construction activities in the area. The company highlights that all phase A commitments have been fulfilled, thus, there remain no further obligations beyond the statutory submission of a relinquishment report.

Commenting on the license abandonment, Jon Ford, Technical Director of Baron, remarked: “Despite strenuous efforts by the licence administrator on behalf of the joint venture, ourselves and the NSTA to establish a way forward for the licence, we have reluctantly agreed that there is no clear pathway to acquiring the necessary 3D seismic and subsequently drilling an exploration well on P2478 in a timely fashion given the competing activities in the licence area.”

Following the sale of a partial interest in a gas field offshore Timor-Leste to Timor Gap, Baron Oil confirmed the completion of a geophysical survey at the planned drilling location for the Chuditch-2 appraisal well off the coast of Timor-Leste.