United Kingdom awards record number of oil licenses in 27th round


United Kingdom awards record number of oil licenses in 27th round


LONDON (Bloomberg) -- The United Kingdom government awarded a record number of permits in its 27th offshore licensing round in a bid to revive oil and gas exploration.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change gave out 52 licenses, bringing the total in the round to 219, it said in an e-mailed statement. The winners included 21 “smaller independents,” which focus purely on exploration and lack the pipelines and refineries of the major producers.

The United Kingdom is looking to bolster exploration as North Sea reserves dwindle and imports rise. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne approved tax breaks in 2012 to boost investment in older offshore fields as well as new-field allowances for large, deep deposits.

“The level of interest in this round demonstrates the continuing attractiveness of the United Kingdom’s oil and resources and licensing system,” Energy Minister Michael Fallon said in the statement. “Some 20 Bbbls of oil and gas could be produced, and it is vital that we maximize the opportunities available both in the North Sea and onshore to boost growth.”

The government plans to open the 28th licensing round early next year. It will also start a 14th round for onshore reserves in 2014.

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