UK's OGA Launches 31st Offshore Licensing Round

UK's OGA Launches 31st Offshore Licensing Round
The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) launches the 31st Offshore Licensing Round, offering blocks in frontier areas of the UK Continental Shelf.

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has launched the 31st Offshore Licensing Round, offering blocks in frontier areas of the UK Continental Shelf.

A total of 1,766 blocks, equating to 370,000 square kilometers [142,857 square miles], of open acreage is now available across the West of Scotland, the East Shetland Platform, the Mid North Sea High, South West Britain and parts of the English Channel, “covered by over 80,000 km [49,000 miles] of high-quality, publicly-available seismic data,” the OGA said in an organization statement on Tuesday.

This data was generated through the 2015 and 2016 government seismic programs, and, together with supporting datasets and reports, was released in advance of the round.

As a result of “high levels of industry interest following the 30th Round”, the OGA said it was also offering companies the opportunity to propose additional blocks in more mature areas, for possible inclusion where applicants intend to commit to a substantial firm work program.

“Following hot on the heels of the strong industry response to the 30th Round, the OGA is opening up large areas of acreage to industry that offer the opportunity for high-impact exploration growth,” Dr Andy Samuel, chief executive of the OGA, said in an organization statement.

“The array of measures put in place by the OGA over the last two years, coupled with the UK’s highly attractive fiscal regime and openly-accessible data have laid the foundation for the ongoing revival in exploration activity across all areas of the UK Continental Shelf,” he added.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Claire Perry, said the government recognized the importance of information and insight to help drive business performance.

“That’s why we provided GBP 40 million [$53 million] in the 2015 and 2016 budgets for seismic surveys in under-explored frontier areas of the UK Continental Shelf, resulting in new data and new opportunities in this latest round of licensing,” Perry said in a government statement.

Companies have until November 7 to apply for blocks on offer in the 31st Round. Decisions are expected to be made in the first half of 2019.

The 32nd Offshore Licensing Round is planned to open in summer 2019 and will focus on mature areas of the UK Continental Shelf. An OGA spokesperson said offers in this round should be made in the second or third quarters of 2020.


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