Energy Minister Charles Hendry set out his hopes for a “prosperous 2012” in the oil and gas sector, as he awarded 46 new licences to explore for hydrocarbons in the North Sea.
These awards were made as part of the 26th offshore oil and gas licensing round, which was originally announced in October 2010. This licensing round awarded 144 licences but held back a number of blocks from award due to the need for further assessment on Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs).
Charles Hendry, Minister for Energy, said:
“Oil and gas remains crucial to the UK economy - contributing around 2% to the country’s GDP. Our innovative licensing system continues to make the UK one of the most attractive places to do business.
“These further licences have been subject to rigorous examination, and we are now satisfied that initial exploration can go ahead.
“These continued high levels of interest, and the award today of these licences, gives me yet more reason to be optimistic for a prosperous 2012 for the UK oil and gas sector.”
Notes for editors
- Details of the licences awarded can be found on the DECC Oil and Gas website
- DECC announced initial results of the 26th offshore oil and gas licensing round in October 2010