New wave of North Sea licences to be unveiled today

03/05/2024

THE third and final tranche of North Sea exploration licences in the 33rd licencing round could be awarded as soon as this morning.

The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) will focus the third and final wave of the 33rd offshore round on the Southern North Sea and East Irish Sea.

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It follows earlier announcements in October and more recently in January, when 17 licences were handed out.

The Guardian  has also reported that oil and gas exploration will be allowed under offshore wind-power sites for the first time.

It’s reported that the exploration won’t see any drilling as companies rely on data to decide whether sites are profitable for extraction.

There’s also hoped that oil and gas platforms will be able to use wind turbines to lower their emissions, though it’s expected an agreement will need to be struck with the windfarm operators before any potential drilling can begin.

A spokesperson for the energy department said: “To strengthen our energy security and grow the economy, we want to maximise the huge energy potential of the North Sea.

“We will continue to need oil and gas over the coming decades as we increase our share of renewables; that’s why we welcome the work by the NSTA and the Crown Estates to facilitate the co-location of wind and oil and gas projects as the offshore space gets busier.”

An NSTA spokesperson said: “The NSTA have worked closely with other regulators to consider matters of co-location with offshore wind and other users.”

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