The British Government has awarded 46 new licences to explore for hydrocarbons in the North Sea. The awards were made as part of the 26th offshore oil and gas licensing round, which was originally announced in October 2010. This licensing round awarded 144 licences but held back a number of blocks from award due to the need for further assessment on Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs).
“Oil and gas remains crucial to the UK economy – contributing around 2% to the country’s GDP. Our innovative licensing system continues to make the UK one of the most attractive places to do business,” says Charles Hendry, Minister for Energy. “These further licences have been subject to rigorous examination, and we are now satisfied that initial exploration can go ahead.”