Frontier areas are being unlocked

Frontier areas are being unlocked

30 companies have been selected by the UK Oil & Gas Authority to explore, develop and create value on the UKCS for over 141 blocks/part-blocks.

The long-awaited results of the 31st Offshore Licensing Round on the UKCS are in, and a broad range of companies received 37 license areas.

This licensing round opened frontier areas or acreages that have never been up for grabs, such as Faroe-Shetland Basin, Moray Firth, East Irish Sea, East Shetland Platform, Mid North Sea High and English Channel.

To attract E&P companies, OGA provided several incentives to support this successful round and stimulate interest, including a suite of new data and analyses, digital maps, prospect and discovery reports, plus well and seismic data.

Along with these “perks” the new license owners will benefit from the results of the 2016 Government-Funded Seismic Programme, which provided almost 19,000 km of broadband seismic data, freely available to download, together with approximately 23,000 km of reprocessed legacy seismic data and well data packages.

The Norwegian giant, Equinor, has been awarded five licences four as operator and one as partner, in two mature areas: Moray Firth and East Shetland Platform. Equinor is strengthening its position on the UKCS, further working to unlock the remaining potential in these areas. The company committed shooting new seismic in the awarded blocks.

Draupner Energy is satisfied with the results, receiving license over four blocks on the UKCS. They now can continue their work on the Balvenie prospect (area previously awarded in the 29th LR) with a re-evaluated potential of over 200 MMboe in recoverable gas and condensate and on the Durham prospect with 125 MMboe.

In a Twitter post, Spirit Energy announced they have received two frontier licenses for a total of 20 blocks in Southern North Sea, where a significant number of gas prospects have been identified and currently part of their drilling campaign.

Faroe Petroleum, Chrysaor, Jetex Petroleum, Corallian Energy, Total E&P, BP, Cycle Petroleum and Burgate Exploration are some of the other winners.

For any drilling activity the OGA is strict, companies having to apply for a series of permits, mostly Environment related to receiving the green light for drilling.

Now focus is turned towards the 32nd LR scheduled to be launched in Summer 2019, which will provide exploration and field development opportunities in mature areas of the UKCS.

Dates of previous and indicative timings for future offshore licence round events, covering a five-year total period. Source: OGA