North Sea UK production has received a significant boost with the offer of 27 new licenses in areas that have the potential to go into production more quickly than others. Additionally, six more blocks, which were also ready to be offered, have been merged into five existing licenses.
All of the 258 blocks that have been applied for have been through the initial Habitat Regulation Assessment (HRA), whereas the blocks being awarded do not require further assessment.
The licenses in the Central and Northern North Sea as well as West of Shetland were awarded first to let operators press ahead with their plans to explore and develop oil and gas resources. In recent years, the average time from license award to production has been around five years.
The announcement comes as part of the North Sea Transition Authority’s (NSTA) wider efforts to support the UK’s energy security options, which include the licensing of offshore gas stores and engagement with industry on opportunities to reopen closed wells. There are currently 284 offshore fields in production in the UK North Sea and an estimated 5.25 billion BOE in total projected production to 2050.
“Ensuring that the UK has broad options for energy security is at the heart of our work and these licenses were awarded in the expectation that the licensees will get down to work immediately,” said NSTA Chief Executive Stuart Payne. “The NSTA will work with the licensees to make sure that where production can be achieved, it happens as quickly as possible.”