UK Offers Record Number of Blocks in 27th Offshore Licensing Round

UK Offers Record Number of Blocks in 27th Offshore Licensing Round

The UK government has made initial offers for 167 production licenses in the UK's 27th offshore oil and gas licensing round, according to a statement Thursday by UK Minister for Energy John Hayes.

Hayes noted that the number of license offers makes for "a very good result" which continued a trend of interest in the UK Continental Shelf. The government previously announced in May that a record 224 applications for licenses on 418 UKCS blocks were submitted for the 27th round.

"This demonstrates the continuing attractiveness of the United Kingdom Continental Shelf as an oil and gas producing province. Oil is a global business and the companies are deciding where to allocate their capital in a very competitive environment. The UK remains a favoured destination, with the industry clearly seeing lots of potential and new opportunities," added Hayes.

Notable offers included those made to Apache Corporation, BG Group, Maersk, Nexen, Premier Oil, Royal Dutch Shell and Total.

Apache has been offered 14 blocks, including the 9/19b block in the northern North Sea – where it will be required to acquire 3D seismic data and drill at least one well.

Most offers have been made in the central North Sea, where BG Group has been offered seven blocks. It will be required to obtain and reprocess 3D seismic in these blocks.

Shell has been offered five blocks in this zone, where it must commit to drilling two wells as well as obtain and reprocess 3D seismic.

Also in the central North Sea, Maersk has been offered four blocks in the central North Sea and will be required to reprocess 3D seismic and drill at least one well on the 30/1g block, 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, where it will be expected to drill at least two wells.

West of the Shetland Islands, Total has been offered 16 blocks. The French firm has also been offered four blocks in the northern North Sea and two blocks in the central North Sea – where it will be required to shoot and reprocess 3D seismic and drill three wells.

Other companies that have been made license offers include BP, Centrica, ConocoPhilips, E.ON, GDF Suez, OMV, Statoil and Tullow Oil.

A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at


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