UK issues ‘record’ number of North Sea exploration licences

The Government has awarded a “record number” of licences to independent UK companies for oil and gas exploration, bringing the total in the latest round to 219. DECC issued an […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The Government has awarded a “record number” of licences to independent UK companies for oil and gas exploration, bringing the total in the latest round to 219.

DECC issued an extra 52 licences today, which includes 21 smaller new entrants. They will be incentivised to invest and undertake additional exploration in the North Sea.

Energy Minister Michael Fallon said: “The level of interest in this round demonstrates the continuing attractiveness of the UK’s oil and resources and licensing system.

“The UK’s oil and gas industry is of strategic national importance. Some 20 billion more barrels of oil and gas could be produced and it is vital that we maximise the opportunities available both in the North Sea and onshore to boost growth, energy security and jobs.”

DECC said it is consulting on a proposed tax regime for shale gas and introducing a ‘pad’ allowance which will reduce tax on a portion of a company’s production income from 62% to 30%.

The 28th offshore and 14th onshore licence rounds will be launched next year next year.