The latest North Sea licensing round for oil and gas drilling has broken all previous records for the number of applications received by the Government.
A total of 224 applications have been submitted for the 27th Licensing Round covering 418 blocks of the UK Continental Shelf. It is the largest number since offshore licensing began in 1964 and is 37 more than the previous high total received in the last licensing round.
The Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore welcomed the figures and said:
“The UK Government has worked hard to create the right environment to foster confidence in the sector and this record level of interest is proof positive those efforts are working.
“This is good news for the future of the North Sea and for the thousands of jobs it supports. The changes we made in the Budget, which strengthen certainty around issues such as tax and decommissioning costs, have helped give the industry the stability it needs to plan future investment and support jobs in Scotland.”
Charles Hendry, Minister of State for Energy, said:
“There remains an extraordinary level of interest in North Sea oil and gas and it is tremendous news for industry and for the UK economy.
“We have been working extremely hard with the oil and gas industry to ensure the UK remains an attractive place to invest. The recent Budget was an important step to create a fiscal environment for North Sea development to flourish - providing energy security and jobs.
“Now our task is to ensure this considerable level of interest continues and that we make the most of this valuable, British resource.”
The UK’s oil and gas sector still provides almost half of the country’s energy and is by far the largest single industrial UK investor. Directly and indirectly it supports around 450,000 jobs in the UK.