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To encourage oil firms to further exploit North Sea fields’ remaining production capacity, the United Kingdom has actualized new investment rules for such licenses. These rules set new investment deadlines on existing licenses, make trading licenses between companies less complex and set shorter investment deadlines in new concessions. Also, E&P licenses will be deemed "fallow" if no activity has taken place for four years. These demanding conditions are being instituted to force companies to invest, or else lose existing licenses to other (smaller) investors. Energy Minister Brian Wilson estimates that Britain has 250 fallow discoveries and another 200 unused licenses. New licenses in this year’s 20th round will have two four-year initial terms, with a 50% relinquishment after the first period. They will only run to the third 18-year term if a development plan is approved.
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