Majors, first-time entrants offered blocks in latest UK offshore round

June 4, 2019

Offshore staff

ABERDEEN, UK – The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has offered 37 license areas to 30 companies in the UK’s 31st Offshore Licensing Round, covering 141 blocks or part-blocks.

These are spread across frontier areas in the Faroe-Shetland basin, Moray Firth, East Irish Sea, East Shetland Platform, Mid North Sea High, and English Channel.

Proposed work programs associated with the awards include new seismic surveys, with two licenses (in the second-term category) progressing straight to field development planning.

BP, Chrysaor, Equinor, Shell, Spirit Energy, and Total were among the major players offered licenses, along with Chevron, which last week agreed to sell its UK North Sea interests to Ithaca Energy.

But there were also awards for various new entrants to the UK continental shelf [UKCS].

Dr. Nick Richardson, head of Exploration and New Ventures at the OGA, said: “Exploration on the [UKCS] continues to be revitalized 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.”

Incentives to support the round included new data and analyses, digital maps, prospect and discovery reports, and well/seismic data.

Some of the data was from the UK government-funded offshore seismic acquisition program of 2016, with almost 19,000 km (11,806 mi) of broadband seismic data freely available to download, along with 23,000 km (14,291 mi) of reprocessed legacy seismic data and well data packages.

During the summer the OGA will launch the 32nd Round, with a focus on exploration and field development opportunities in mature areas of the UKCS.