25 North Sea exploration licences granted

25 North Sea exploration licences granted

The North Sea will be subject to further exploration activity after the UK Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) announced the granting of 25 licenses for oil and gas exploration.

Licenses were issued to 17 companies, despite the tender attracting the lowest interest in 14 years and was significantly down from the 175 licences issued in the previous licencing round during 2014-15.

However, the new licenses will focus on previously under-explored regions of the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), including Rockall and East Shetland.

Andy Samuel, chief executive of the OGA said: “While exploration activity has undoubtedly suffered as a result of the difficult market conditions, we are now seeing highly encouraging success rates and finding costs on the UKCS.

“This is testament to the value of a robust and focused exploration strategy with commitment from industry, government and the OGA.”

Oil giants Royal Dutch Shell and Statoil received a large chunk of the new licenses, despite the former making a recent US$3 billion divestment on one of its North Sea assets.

Joining these oil majors in winning exploration licences were a number of newcomers, including Chrysaor and Simwell Resources.