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UK launches offshore oil, gas licensing round

The UK’s Oil & Gas Authority Wednesday announced the launch of the 29th Offshore Licensing Round with more than 1,200 blocks on offer on the UK Continental Shelf, the authority said.

This will allow companies to apply for new licenses to drill for offshore oil and gas in a number of areas on the UKCS, some of which were part of the GBP20 million ($26.2 million) government funded seismic campaign.

"The GBP20 million seismic campaign funded by this government has highlighted more of the opportunities that are still out there on the UKCS," Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Lucy Neville-Rolfe said.

The majority of the 1,261 blocks on offer are in the West of Scotland area, with further blocks on offer in the Northern North Sea area and the Mid- North Sea High area, making these previously under-explored areas available.

The deadline for applications for the blocks is 1400 GMT on October 26.

"We recognize that market conditions are currently very difficult but nonetheless we have a shared goal [with the UK Government] of making the basin as attractive as possible for exploration" OGA CEO Andy Samuel said.

This round also marks the launch of the "Innovative License" concept -- developed by an industry task group set up by the MER UK Exploration Board to maximize economic recovery from the UKCS -- allowing the licensee to work with the OGA to design an optimal work program and more appropriate phasing of activities, rental fees, competency tests, and implements a stage-gate process for better monitoring of progress compared to previous rounds.

Time: 2016-7-29 Click: 4
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