Study Points to 17B Barrel Potential for North Sea Licensing Round

UKCS consultancy Hannon Westwood released its 25th Round Screening Study on the potential resource opportunity in acreage of the 25th Licence Round. Expected to launch in late January 2008, the Round will offer the largest number of Blocks for any UKCS Licensing Round, and has the potential to add 648 mmboe through discoveries and 16.6 billion boe through prospects to the UKCS asset pool.

The study details both exploration and discovery opportunities lying in the acreage to be offered in the 25th Round. The potential resource contained in the study compares to a background of total potential UKCS E&A resource in the Hannon Westwood database of about 7,500 mmboe in discoveries and about 50,000 mmboe unrisked, undrilled in exploration prospects in licensed and unlicensed acreage. .

"As a result of the series of UKCS Licence Rounds over the past four years, the number of companies holding UKCS acreage has more than doubled to over 170 companies," said Chris Bulley, executive director of Hannon Westwood. "The supply of acreage expected to become available for licensing in the 25th Round – is expected to fuel the pace of E&A activity for these companies and also potential new entrant companies."

"In addition, the last 12 months on the UKCS have showed the highest level of E&A drilling for ten years, with over 65 vertical well spuds in 2007," Bulley said. "With over 220 exploration and appraisal wells in the Hannon Westwood database scouted as being planned for drilling in 2008 - 2010 and with the potential of new prospects to be introduced into this stock from the 25th Licence Round, we expect at least three years of further E&A drilling at the current pace."

The study includes information on all unlicensed Blocks and part-Blocks available for licensing, previous drilling activity, and lists and describes previously mapped prospects and undeveloped discoveries now in open acreage.

"From a UKCS business planning perspective, the study is a one-stop-shop for companies formulating a UKCS hydrocarbon strategy," Jim Hannon, founding partner of Hannon Westwood, said. "The study eliminates the intelligence hole that many companies face in advance of a Licensing Round, and we believe provides a previously-unheard of level of understanding of the UKCS resource potential around one Licence Round." .

Hannon Westwood holds and maintains extensive discovery and prospect databases on the UKCS with over 400 undeveloped discoveries and over 1,300 undrilled prospects.