UK awards record number of offshore licenses

The UK’s energy ministry awarded 52 new production licenses as part of the second tranche of offers in the 27th offshore oil and gas licensing round, bringing the round’s total to a record 219, almost 30 more than the previous round.

“We are particularly encouraged by the fact that 21 of these licenses have been awarded to small independents who are new entrants to the market," commented Oonagh Werngren, operations director of Oil & Gas UK, a nonprofit representative body for the UK offshore oil and gas industry.

“This is three times the number of licenses granted to independents last year, and highlights the strategic importance of achieving a balance between established operators and newcomers,” he stated, adding, “Successful exploration and production not only helps to promote security of energy supply but also strengthens the UK’s economy and ever-growing supply chain and the hundreds of thousands jobs it supports.”

The round began in February 2012 and closed for applications on May 1. A total of 224 applications were submitted for 418 blocks of the UK continental shelf. It was the largest number since offshore licensing began in 1964 and was 37 more than the previous high total received in the 26th round, according to the UK’s government web site.

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