New oil and gas licences to add 600 million barrels of oil equivalent


ANOTHER 31 new oil and gas exploration licences have been announced by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA).

The new tranche could deliver up to 600 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) by 2060, though the awards were focused on gas extraction from the southern North Sea.

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It brings the total number of new licenses awarded to 82 in the latest round of offshore licencing, across 50 companies.

Most of the 31 licences awarded are for early-phases, allowing companies to data gather and survey fields.

Six are known as Phase C licences, which can proceed more quickly to drilling.

Andy Brooks, director of new ventures at the NSTA, said: “These licences could sustain oil and gas production, bringing significant benefits for jobs and the economy, and the NSTA will work with the licensees to help bring them into production as quickly as possible.”

The new licences mean oil and gas extraction in UK waters is expected to last beyond the UK Government’s legally-binding deadline of being net zero by 2050.

Windfarm operators have also been told they may need to make way for oil and gas extraction should it operators target overlapping areas of seabed.

However, the 33rd licencing round may be the last, should Labour get into government.

Shadow Energy Secretary Ed Miliband pledged to put an end to all future licencing, should his party come to power.

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