UK Energy Minister, Michael Fallon has launched the 28th round of offshore petroleum licensing, inviting applications for petroleum licences for unlicensed seaward blocks from interested companies.
Companies can now apply for new licences to drill for offshore oil and gas in the North Sea.
“Indigenous oil and gas production supplies the equivalent of about half of the UK’s primary energy demand. It is vital that we continue to do all we can to maximise economic recovery of indigenous hydrocarbon reserves. The licensing of new areas forms an essential part of our long term economic plan by enabling the exploration necessary to ensure we fully realise our remaining reserves which could be as much as another 20 billion barrels. This will boost growth, energy security, and jobs,” Fallon said.
The UK oil and gas sector already supports around 350,000 jobs, and last year attracted a record £14 billion of capital expenditure as well as supplying around half of the UK’s primary energy demand.
Fallon added: “There continues to be extremely high level of interest in North Sea oil and gas, which is unsurprising when there could be as many as 20 billion barrels of oil still buried deep within the seabed. This new round of drilling for offshore oil and gas will help boost growth, energy security, and jobs in the UK.”
This latest licensing round supports the efforts of Government and industry’s joint Oil and Gas Industrial Strategy, which is working to secure future decades of investment and production in the North Sea.
The previous 27th Licensing saw a record number of licences awarded, including 21 new entrants, and the level of interest demonstrates the continuing attractiveness of the UK’s oil and gas resources. There are now over 50 companies at work in the North Sea.
Last year 36 offshore projects, with an associated capex of over £9 billion, were approved, which provide tax revenues of £6.5 billion on production and a further £5 billion through the wider supply-chain in corporate and payroll taxes.
The companies have until 25th April to submit their applications in the Round.