OGA offers UK offshore licenses to 65 bidders

Sept. 4, 2020
Britain’s Oil and Gas Authority has offered 113 license areas over 259 blocks or part-blocks to 65 companies under the UK’s 32nd Offshore Licensing Round.

Offshore staff

LONDON – Britain’s Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has offered 113 license areas over 259 blocks or part-blocks to 65 companies under the UK’s 32nd Offshore Licensing Round.

Blocks were available in mature, producing areas close to existing infrastructure, under the flexible terms of the Innovate Licence scheme.

Applicants can use this to define the duration and phasing of the license that they would need to execute their work programs.

Most of the licenses will enter the Initial Term (Phase A or Phase B exploration stage), while 16 will proceed straight to Second Term for potential developments or re-developments of fields where production had ceased, and the surrounding acreage relinquished.

The OGA provided new data and analyses, prospect and discovery reports, well and seismic data to support the round, with the National Data Repository (NDR), created last year, improving data availability and access.

There will be no further UK offshore license round in what would have been the 2020/21 period to allow more license relinquishments to take place, with industry encouraged to focus on delivering work commitments from existing licenses and to acquire data and conduct studies in preparation for the next round.

Currently the OGA is working on integrating the UK’s net zero emissions considerations into its core business, and expects 32nd round awards to be stewarded under this new strategy.

Among the companies to comment on their awards are Premier Oil, which netted a 50% operated interest in blocks 42/28e and 42/29b in a license east of its Tolmount field development area in the southern gas basin; and a 50% non-operated stake in blocks 42/27, 47/2b and 47/3g in another license west of Tolmount. Dana Petroleum is the other partner in both licenses.

Some of the 3D seismic data acquired across the Greater Tolmount Area in 2019 covered parts of the new licenses, and Premier is working up leads and prospects from the processed results that could lead to future developments via the Tolount infrastructure.

The company will also partner with Cairn, MOL, and ONE-Dyas in block 28/9f adjacent to the Catcher Area fields. This concession contains the Cougar and Rapide prospects, both potential tiebacks to the Catcher Area facilities.

Malaysian company Hibiscus Petroleum’s subsidiary, Anasuria Hibiscus UK (AHUK) was offered three licenses. In the UK central UK North Sea, block 21/24d contains the Teal West discovery, 4 km (2.5 mi) from the Teal subsea manifold and a tieback candidate to the FPSO Anasuria. AHUK will operate with a 70% interest in partnership with Zennor Petroleum.

The company was also offered 19.3% shares of a license for blocks 21/19c and 21/20c, close to the Cook field, with Ithaca Energy the designated operator.  AHUK’s other award is 100% of a license for block 15/17a containing parts of the Kildrummy and Beaumaris discoveries and the Udny prospect.

The location is 8 km (4.9 mi) from AHUK’s Marigold field: the company hopes Kildrummy will be tied back to infrastructure it plans to put in place for the Marigold development.

Jersey Oil & Gas was awarded a 100% operated interest in part-block 20/5e, within the company’s Greater Buchan Area (GBA) development acreage and containing an extension of the J2 (well 20/05a-10Y) oil discovery.

JOG understands that the part-block will be incorporated within license P2498 (blocks 20/5a and 21/1a) that the company secured under the OGA’s 31st Offshore Supplementary Licensing Round, which contains the Buchan oil field and the J2 oil discovery and which forms the basis of JOG’s proposed GBA development plans.

Australian independent Talon Petroleum noted that it had been offered three license areas on the OGA’s website.

Independent Oil & Gas, which is developing new gas production hubs in the UK southern North Sea, has been offered three license areas. These cover:

  • Panther block 49/21e, in 30-40 m (98.4-131 ft) of water and adjacent to the company’s three Vulcan Satellites licenses. The block includes the Viper gas discovery (to be re-named Panther on confirmation of award), which is effectively a fourth Vulcan Satellite field. Its location is 5 km (3.1 mi) northwest of the Elland field and 10 km (6.2 mi) north of Southwark, which will be connected to the 24-in. Thames Pipeline as part of the Phase 1 development. IOG estimates recoverable resources at 46 bcfe, based on data from a well drilled by EOG Resources in 2004, sufficient for a two-well unmanned platform development, as is the plan for Elland.
  • Grafton Block 49/22b is directly to the east in 20-40 m (65.6-131 ft) water depth and contains the Sinope South field, discovered by ConocoPhillips in the early 1990s and set to be renamed Grafton. It is 16 km (9.9 mi) from the Southwark platform location, with prospective resources of 35 bcfe, commensurate a single-well unmanned platform development. Another small discovery on the block is Isca.  
  • Allerdale 48/24c and Redwell Northwest 48/23d.  Block 48/24c contains a potential northwest extension of the IOG’s Redwell discovery which lies mainly in block 48/24a. Block 48/23d is between the Blythe-Elgood hub and IOG’s Harvey and Redwell licenses and contains the Allerdale, Driftwood, and Bradfield prospects. Allerdale and Driftwood are within 7 km (4 mi) of Blythe, which is being developed as part of Phase 1.

Deltic Energy was provisionally awarded six licenses covering 12 full and part blocks over an area of 2,155.5 sq km (832 sq mi).

In the southern UK North Sea, blocks 41/05b and 42/01b, awarded jointly with Shell, adjoin Deltic’s existing P2252 license and are thought to hold potential extensions of the Pensacola Reef prospect. 

Blocks 43/11 and 43/12b contain the potential tcf-scale Cadence structure with prospectivity in intra-Carboniferous traps and Base Permian Unconformity-truncation style traps, with upside in the Triassic Bunter sandstones.  This area is north of Spirit Energy’s proposed Pegasus gas development.

Blocks 42/13b (part), 42/17, 42/18, 42/19, 42/20b, 42/22 and 42/23 are south of the Breagh gas field.

In the central North Sea, Deltic has been offered block 22/17a that contains two Jurassic Fulmar sandstone prospects identified by previous license holders which could have upside potential.

Serica Energy has been offered a new license covering four UK northern North Sea blocks, all close to the company’s operated Bruce production area (3/25b, 3/30, 4/26 and 9/5a).