UK OGA launches 30th offshore licensing round

The UK Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) has opened the 120-day offer period for its 30th offshore licensing round, which will close on Nov. 21. Award decisions are expected in second-quarter 2018.

The UK Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) has opened the 120-day offer period for its 30th offshore licensing round, which will close on Nov. 21. Award decisions are expected in second-quarter 2018.

This latest round follows the supplementary round held in July that awarded 12 licenses to 10 companies. The 29th offshore licensing round, held in March, awarded 25 licenses for 111 blocks to 17 companies in UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) frontier areas (OGJ Online, Mar. 24, 2017).

OGA’s 30th round offers 813 blocks or part blocks in mature areas of the UKCS, covering 114,426 sq km. Blocks are on offer in the southern, central, and northern North Sea, the West of Shetland, and the East Irish Sea. The round features a large inventory of new prospects and undeveloped discoveries. Mature areas of the UKCS were last on offer in the 28th offshore licensing round in 2014.

OGA released 140 datapacks on undeveloped discoveries, which are included in the latest round offering (OGJ Online, June 20, 2017). OGA released maps covering the central North Sea and Moray Firth on July 19.

Some of the acreage in the 30th round has been unavailable since 1965, and OGA Chief Executive Andy Samuel said companies are being encouraged to “take a fresh look at large areas of acreage.”

OGA’s 31st offshore licensing round will follow the current offering, and will once again focus on frontier areas of UKCS, including those covered by the UK-government funded seismic acquisition project in southwest Britain and the East Shetland platform. The acquisition included 13,500 km of new seismic data and 20,000 km of reprocessed legacy data. OGA has said it will release this data to the industry after the 30th round closes in November.

Contact Tayvis Dunnahoe at tayvisd@ogjonline.com.

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