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UK announces offshore licensing round winners

29th October 2012

UK government unveils winners of 27th offshore licensing round featuring 330 North Sea blocks

UK announces offshore licensing round winners
The licensing round covers 330 North Sea blocks. A further 61 blocks are under environmental assessment.

The UK government on Friday announced the winners of 167 new production licences in its 27th offshore oil and gas licensing round, which covers 330 North Sea blocks, as part of plans to boost foreign investment and activity in the oil and gas industry.

The red carpet of winners includes majors Apache Corporation, BG Group, Maersk, Nexen, Premier Oil, Royal Dutch Shell and Total. Apache Corporation has been offered 14 blocks in the northern part of the North Sea, where it will be required to acquire 3D seismic data, whilst BG Group and Shell have been offered seven and five blocks in the central North Sea, respectively.

Also in the central North Sea, Maersk has been offered four blocks while Nexen has been offered 17 blocks, which includes a commitment to drill at least four wells on two of these blocks. Premier Oil has been offered eight blocks in the central zone and Total has been offered 16 blocks in the west of the Shetland Islands. Total has also been offered four blocks in the northern North Sea and two blocks in the central North Sea.

The UK Energy Minister, John Hayes, said the successful licensing round shows the country is taking the right action to offer certainty and confidence to investors.

"Our fiscal regime is now encouraging small fields into production and our licensing regime supports new faces as well the big players to invest," Hayes added.

The licenses were offered by the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). An additional 61 blocks are under environmental assessment, and other companies which have been made license offers include BP, Centrica, ConocoPhillips, GDF Suez, and Statoil.