News story

Record breaking North Sea licensing round

The latest North Sea licensing round for oil and gas drilling has broken all previous records for the number of applications received by the…

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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.

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.

Notes for editors:

  1. Energy Minister Charles Hendry will be available for interview in Aberdeen on Wednesday 23 May. Call Cameron Ramos in DECC press office to arrange - 0300 068 5217.
  2. The 27th Round was launched in February 2012 and closed for applications on the 1st May.
  3. Before any licences are awarded, DECC will carry out a screening exercise on the areas applied for, to assess whether the activities likely to result from the issue of oil and gas licences will have significant effects on any protected nature conservation sites (called “Natura 2000 sites”). Where such significant effects are likely, an “Appropriate Assessment” will be necessary and, unless the relevant derogation applies, these licences can only be awarded where we can be certain that there will be no adverse effects on the integrity of any Natura 2000 sites. This is required under the provisions of the Offshore Petroleum Activities (Conservation of Habitats) Regulations, 2001 which implement the “Habitats Directive”.
  4. Any licences that are awarded in the round will contain conditions to protect environmental interests, and the interests of other sea users. In addition, activities carried out under the licences will be subject to a range of legislation which is designed to protect the marine environment, including regulations which apply the Environmental Impact Assessment and Habitats Directives to offshore oil and gas activities.
  5. For further information on the 27th Oil and Gas Offshore Licensing round, visit the Oil & Gas website

Licensing Round Applications received Blocks applied for

27th Round

  • Traditional: 192
  • Promote: 25
  • Frontier: 7
  • Total: 224 418

26th Round

  • Traditional: 153
  • Promote: 31
  • Frontier: 3
  • Total: 187 356
Published 23 May 2012