LONDON (Agencies): The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) in the UK has issued an additional 31 licenses for North Sea exploration, marking the final phase of the 33rd oil and gas licensing round. Over the past few months, the UK regulator has awarded a total of 82 licenses to 50 companies across three tranches of the licensing round. The first and second tranches offered 27 and 24 licenses respectively in October 2023 and January 2024.

The 33rd round attracted 115 bids from 76 companies across 257 blocks and part-blocks. The licenses granted in this round are expected to contribute an estimated 600 million barrels of oil equivalent by 2060, or 545 million barrels of oil equivalent by 2050.

Some of the licenses awarded are in areas previously designated for offshore wind power licenses. Following discussions with The Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland, NSTA has introduced a new clause for the first time to address overlapping oil and gas licenses and wind leases. This clause will serve as the primary commercial mechanism to resolve spatial overlaps and support the co-existence of these crucial industries.

Offshore Energies UK, the leading industry body, stated that the latest license awards are primarily for natural gas extraction from the southern North Sea, with the potential to be operational within the next five years. These licenses will reduce the UK’s reliance on imported gas, which NSTA has shown to be more carbon-intensive.

David Whitehouse, CEO of Offshore Energies UK, commented on the situation in the context of the general election year. He highlighted the choice between building a homegrown energy transition and stimulating economic growth by supporting local people, offshore firms, and the world-class supply chain, or importing even more energy and failing to grow new wind, hydrogen, and carbon capture industries.

By Media

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »