The Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) – the UK’s oil and gas regulator – today announced that 27 onshore blocks from the 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round will be formally offered to companies.
A second group of 132 further blocks has been subjected to detailed assessment under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, the findings of which are now out for consultation.
Subject to the outcome of that consultation, the OGA will announce offers for the second group of license blocks later in the year. The licenses for all offered blocks will then be granted after the terms and conditions have been finalized.
OGA Chief Executive Andy Samuel said:
“With almost 100 applications received, the 14th Onshore Round has attracted significant interest and high-quality proposed work programs from a range oil and gas companies. Today’s announcement regarding the offer of 27 blocks gives those successful companies assurance about the blocks that they will be formally offered later in the year.”
UK Energy Minister Lord Bourne said:
“As part of our long-term plan to build a more resilient economy, create jobs and deliver secure energy supplies, we continue to back our onshore oil and gas industry and the safe development of shale gas in the UK. This is why the OGA has moved quickly to confirm the winners of license blocks, which do not need further environmental assessment.
“Keeping the lights on and powering the economy is not negotiable, and these industries will play a key part in providing secure and reliable energy to UK homes and businesses for decades to come.
“It’s important we press on and get shale moving, while maintaining strong environmental controls. Investment in shale could reach £33 billion and support 64,000 jobs creating financial security for hardworking people and their families, whilst providing a cost-efficient bridge to lower-carbon energy use.”
The Habitats consultation, which covers those blocks, which do require further environmental assessment, enables the public and other interested parties to submit responses by the end of September. The OGA will then consider the results of the consultation before offering any further blocks.
The 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round was launched on 28 July 2014 and closed on 28 October 2014. A total of 95 applications were received from 47 companies covering 295 Ordnance Survey Blocks.