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North Sea licences awarded

Lloyds List: North Sea licences awarded

“European oil majors BP, Eni, Shell and Total, plus US oil companies Amerada Hess, ChevronTexaco, Apache and Kerr-McGee have gained licences in the round.”

Martyn Wingrove

Sep 15, 2004

FIVE days into his new job, British Energy Minister, Mike O’Brien, has awarded offshore and onshore hydrocarbon exploration licences to 58 companies.

The Department of Trade and Industry has issued 97 offshore licences and 26 onshore permits to allow companies to explore for oil and gas.

Yesterday saw the award of 32 offshore traditional licences, plus 58 of the DTI’s new promote licences and seven permits for the frontier exploration area West of Shetlands covering a total of 163 blocks.

‘Our progressive and innovative licensing system is proving a real success in attracting international attention to the North Sea,’ said Mr O’Brien.

‘The new promote licence goes from strength to strength. For this round we also introduced the frontier licence to stimulate renewed interest in the area west of Shetlands and seven licence applications covering 27 blocks show that this too has been well received by the industry.’

Under the new licence round policies, implemented by previous energy minister Stephen Timms last year, North Sea UK exploration levels have improved.

According to analysts at Deloitte, exploration activity in the UK has risen by 59% this year with around 45 exploratory wells drilled.

European oil majors BP, Eni, Shell and Total, plus US oil companies Amerada Hess, ChevronTexaco, Apache and Kerr-McGee have gained licences in the round.

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