UK’s offshore licensing round draws 29 applications

UK’s Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has received 29 applications covering 113 blocks in the latest offshore licensing round for under-explored areas of the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

The 29th offshore licensing round was launched on July 27, 2016, and closed for applications on October 26, 2016.

OGA said on Monday that the 29th Frontier Licensing Round is the first licensing round in two decades to focus on frontier areas.

Applications were received from 24 companies ranging from multinationals to new country entrants. Some of the proposed work programs include firm well commitments.

Areas in the 29th Frontier Licensing Round included the East Shetland Platform and the Rockall Trough and Mid-North Sea High areas which were the focus of the 2015 UK Government funded seismic acquisition program.

The OGA subsequently provided an openly available, geophysical dataset allowing companies to identify and target a range of opportunities.

Andy Samuel, Chief Executive of the OGA, said: “Despite the difficult climate, industry has responded strongly to our offer, using analysis and insights to identify new prospects and submit high quality applications on blocks that did not attract interest in recent licensing rounds.

“Long-standing investors continue to seek new acreage and we also welcome the arrival of new entrants. This is encouraging and supports the OGA and MER UK Exploration Board’s joint approach to revitalizing exploration.”

OGA added that the upcoming 30th Offshore Licensing Round will cover mature areas of the UKCS, and will offer significant opportunities, including some blocks which were not available since the 3rd Licensing Round.

The recently completed 2016 UK Government funded seismic acquisition program of South West Britain, and the East Shetland Platform will enable future frontier licensing. More than 13,500 km of new seismic data plus approximately 20,000 km of reprocessed legacy seismic data is scheduled to be released to industry in Q2/Q3 2017.