The U.K. has awarded 46 new licenses to explore for oil and gas in the North Sea, the Department of Energy and Climate Change announced on its website Friday.
The awards, part of the country's 26th offshore oil and gas licensing round, came as the U.K. handed out 144 licenses in total. Companies to snap up the new exploration blocks include Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA.LN), Germany's Wintershall AG and France's GDF Suez SA (GSZ.FR).
"These further licenses have been subject to rigorous examination, and we are now satisfied that initial exploration can go ahead," said Energy Minister Charles Hendry.
"These continued high levels of interest, and the award today of these licenses, gives me yet more reason to be optimistic for a prosperous 2012 for the U.K. oil and gas sector," Hendry added.
Below is a breakdown of the Operators who won new licenses for firm and contingent wells.
- Block 49/21c in partnership with Nuon to reprocess 3D
- Blocks 44/4 (Split), 44/5 and 45/1 in partnership with GDF Suez and Volantis to shoot and obtain 2D
- Block 44/30 in partnership with Volantis
- Blocks 47/2b (Split), 47/3g (Split), 47/7 (Split) and 47/8d (Part) in partnership with Serica and Volantis to shoot and reprocess 3D
- Blocks 42/27, 47/2b (Split) and 47/3g (Split) in partnership with Sorgenia to reprocess 3D
- Blocks 12/18 and 12/19a (Split) to obtain 3D
- Blocks 12/14, 12/19a (Split) and 12/20a to obtain 2D and reprocess 3D
- Blocks 48/8d, 48/9b & 48/14c in partnership with Bayerngas to obtain and reprocess 3D
- Blocks 12/16b & 12/17b in partnership with North Sea Energy, EnCore and Nautical to shoot 2D
- Blocks 44/14 & 44/15 in partnership with Endeavour and Centria to obtain and reprocess 3D
- Blocks 44/16a, 44/17d & 44/17f in partnership with Endeavour and Centria for 1 firm well and to shoot 3D
- Block 44/30 (Split) in partnership with Faroe, E.On Ruhrgas, and RWE Dea
- Blocks 47/13b, 47/14d, 47/18 & 47/19b in partnership with First Oil to reprocess 3D and for 1 contingent well
- Block 49/17d to reprocess 3D
- Block 43/20c to obtain and reprocess 3D
- Blocks 5/1, 5/2, 5/3, 5/4, 5/5, 5/6, 5/7, 5/8, 5/9 & 206/28 to shoot 2D
- Blocks 113/28 (Split) & 113/29a
- Blocks 97/14, 97/15 & 98/11 in partnership with Ecorp Oil & Gas to obtain and reprocess 2D
- Blocks 13/26a, 13/27c & 19/1 for 1 firm well
- Blocks 19/4 & 19/5b in partnership with Suncor, Edinburgh and Maersk to shoot 3D
- Blocks 98/13 (Split) & 98/14 (Part) in partnership with Oil & Gas Investments, EnCore, Montrose and Magellan
- Blocks 98/6b, 98/7b, 98/8, 98/12 (Part) & 98/13 (Split) in partnership with Wessex to obtain and reprocess 2D, and reprocess 3D
- Blocks 125/18, 125/19, 125/20, 125/23, 125/24 & 125/25 to obtain and reprocess 2D
- Block 48/20b in partnership with Fairfield
- Block 12/21b to obtain and reprocess 2D
- Block 110/8b to reprocess 3D
- Block 48/25a (Part) in partnership with Esso
- Blocks 48/30c, 49/26b, 52/5c & 53/1b (Part) in partnership with Esso
- Blocks 49/14a & 49/15d in partnership with Esso to reprocess 3D
- Blocks 49/22b (Part), 49/23c, 49/27c & 49/28c in partnership with Esso to obtain 3D
- Blocks 49/23b & 49/24d in partnership with Esso
- Block 53/2c (Part) in partnership with Esso to obtain 3D
- Blocks 47/6 (Part) & 47/7 (Split) in partnership with Swift to obtain 2D
- Blocks 43/15a & 43/20a to shoot 3D
- Blocks 49/18b & 49/19b for 1 firm well, 1 contingent well and to reprocess 3D
- Block 16/3d in partnership with Sterling for 1 firm well and to reprocess 3D
- Blocks 12/26b & 12/27 in partnership with Norwegian Energy and Trap Oil for 1 firm well, to obtain 2D and reprocess 3D
- Block 44/18c in partnership with Vectis to reprocess 3D
- Block 44/17e
- Blocks 48/13c (Part), 48/14b, 48/18e & 48/19d (Part)
- Blocks 44/1, 44/2, 44/3 & 44/4 (Split) to reprocess 3D
- Block 44/23c in partnership with Gas-Union, XTO and Gazprom to obtain and reprocess 3D
- Blocks 44/23d & 44/24c in partnership with Gas-Union, XTO and Gazprom to reprocess 3D
Full details of the round can be found by viewing:
Dow Jones Newswires' Alexis Flynn contributed to this report.
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