The UK Government has issued 167 new licences for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea and claims interest in the region from investors is at “record breaking levels”.
DECC announced the winners of the 27th Licensing Round today covering 330 North Sea blocks, with a further 61 blocks under environmental assessment. It received the most number of applications (224) this year.
Energy Minister John Hayes said: “Fortune has favoured the UK. Oil and gas from our waters provides around half the energy we need to heat our homes, fuel our cars and power our industry. It is the single largest industrial UK investor, supporting 440,000 jobs and benefits the UK’s trade balance to the tune of £40 billion.
“This successful licensing round shows we are taking the right action to offer certainty and confidence to investors. Our fiscal regime is now encouraging small fields into production and our licensing regime supports new faces as well the big players to invest. Importantly, we are guaranteeing every last economic drop of oil and gas is produced for the benefit of the UK.”
According to figures from DECC, more than 40 billion barrels of oil have been produced from the UK Continental Shelf, with potentially another 20 billion still remaining to be exploited.