The UK's Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has offered for award 37 licence areas over 141 blocks or part-blocks to 30 companies in the 31st Offshore Licensing Round.
The OGA says that the successful awards will act as a strong platform for future exploration and production in frontier areas of the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) in the Faroe-Shetland Basin, Moray Firth, East Irish Sea, East Shetland Platform, Mid North Sea High and English Channel.
A number of proposed new work programmes have been secured in this round, including new shoot seismic acquisition, with two licences progressing straight to field development planning (second term licences).
Overall, the awards have been offered to a broad spectrum of companies; with super-majors expanding their footprint and new entrant companies investing for the first time.
Dr Nick Richardson, Head of Exploration and New Ventures at the OGA, said: “Exploration on the UK Continental Shelf continues to be revitalised with the results indicating a continuation of the strong interest shown in the previous frontier round, the 29th Round in 2016. It has been very encouraging to see industry generating new prospects and play concepts, and seeking acreage in areas which have never before been licensed, such as parts of the East Shetland Platform, underlining the positive impact of ongoing Government-Funded data initiatives.”
The OGA provided a number of incentives to support this successful round and stimulate interest, including a suite of new data and analyses, digital maps, prospect and discovery reports, plus well and seismic data.
This includes data from the 2016 Government-Funded Seismic Programme, which provided 19,000 km of broadband seismic data, freely available to download, together with approximately 23,000 km of reprocessed legacy seismic data and well data packages.
Attention will now turn to the 32nd Round, scheduled to be launched in Summer 2019, which will provide exploration and field development opportunities in mature areas of the UKCS.