Oil and gas – guidance

Oil and gas: licensing rounds

Current and previous licensing rounds for onshore and offshore petroleum licences, including lists of offers made in each round, press notices, maps, and the contact details of operators offered licences.

Overview

Licensing rounds yield better quality bids than other methods. Unlike auctions, for instance, licensing rounds do not divert significant sums of money away from exploration work and they give a much better expectation that a licence will be awarded to the bid that promises to optimise exploitation of the UK’s petroleum resources.

Onshore and offshore licensing rounds generally take place every other year.

Below you can obtain information about current and previous licensing rounds including lists of offers made in each round, press notices, maps, and the contact details of operators offered licences. This includes data from as far back as 1964.

29th Seaward Licensing Round

On 27th July 2016, the Oil and Gas Authority (The OGA, an Executive Agency of BEIS) invited applications for Licences in the 29th Seaward Licensing Round. Applications for Licences will be accepted up to 2.00pm on the 26th October 2016.

Below is a list of links to: a Press Notice that includes a statement by Andy Samuel, the Chief Executive Officer of the OGA; the official invitation in the Official Journal of the European Union; an indicative guide to some of the other regulatory issues that will apply to successful applicants; a list of discoveries and fields where production has ceased in the seaward acreage being offered; and the Strategic Environmental Assessment that has been carried out by BEIS.

A Questions and Answer link is provided below which will be populated with new guidance that the OGA issues in response to enquiries during the Round.

All applications in the 29th Licensing Round will be submitted through the LARRY facility. (The Licensing Applications RepositoRY). This is a portal-based system that will lead the applicant through the process of compiling and submitting an application and will even take a credit card payment to cover the application fee, whilst guaranteeing security and confidentiality.

To use LARRY you need to be registered to use the Oil Portal – you can use your existing registration to use LARRY if you have one; if not you are welcome to register just to use LARRY.

29th Round - How to apply

Other relevant information

Questions and Answers

29th Round - Maps of seaward acreage on offer

  1. West of Scotland area (PDF, 390KB, 1 page)

  2. Northern North Sea (PDF, 265KB, 1 page)

  3. Mid North Sea High (PDF, 336KB, 1 page)

  4. Shapefiles (ZIP, 544KB)

29th Round - Environmental Information

Some areas of UK controlled waters may be designated as Special Areas of Conservation. There is a map showing these areas, and a contact point for further information, in the link below. Potential Applicants are advised to take particular notice of the Special Areas of Conservation.

Other useful information

The Crown Estate has significant interest in the offshore area which could potentially affect exploration and development proposals. Please see the link below for further information including a map of these interests. Potential applicants are advised to take particular notice of the interests that are shown for the blocks you wish to apply for.

29th Round - First point of contact

Jen Brzozowska
tel: 0300 067 1603

email: jen.brzozowska@oga.gsi.gov.uk

or alternatively:

Ricki Kiff
tel: 0300 067 1637

email: ricki.kiff@oga.gsi.gov.uk

14th Landward Licensing Round

On 17 December 2015, the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) announced that licences for a total of 159 blocks were formally offered to successful applicants under the 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round

The 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round was launched on 28 July 2014 and closed on 28 October 2014. A total of 95 applications were received from 47 companies covering 295 Ordnance Survey Blocks. Following scrutiny of the applicants’ competency, financial viability, environmental awareness and geotechnical analysis, and following the decision not to award licences in Scotland and Wales, 159 blocks were taken forward for further consideration.

In August 2015, the OGA announced its intention to offer licences covering 27 blocks. These blocks did not require further environmental assessment under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (the Habitats Regulations). At this time, the OGA launched a consultation relating to a further 132 blocks that were subjected to further detailed assessment in accordance with the Habitats Regulations, and a public consultation on that assessment was carried out. Following the conclusion of the consultation process, the OGA is now satisfied that the approval of the 14th Licensing Round, and the award of each of the licences under the Round, will not have an adverse effect on the integrity of any protected European site. As a result, the OGA is offering licences for a total of 159 blocks. For 75 of these blocks, the licence will contain a condition that prohibits all or specific activities in parts of the block.

Details of the offers to successful applicants are provided below.

This interactive map has been produced by the OGA to assist companies and members of the public with information that will help them understand oil and gas exploration and production activity onshore in Great Britain including those areas already under licence and those areas offered under the OGA’s 14th Onshore Licensing Round.

Update regarding applications made in Scotland and Wales

Following discussion with prospective licensees, and in accordance with the new devolution settlements set out in the Scotland Bill currently before Parliament and the soon to be introduced Wales Bill, the UK Government has decided that no new Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences (PEDLs) will be awarded in Scotland or Wales including as part of the 14th Round.

14th Round - Information and Guidance

14th Round - Other Issues

The award of a Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence (PEDLs) do not automatically give permission for operations to begin. The necessary planning and regulatory consents will be required before development can take place. All proposals will subsequently be scrutinised by the Environment Agency, and by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Consent from the OGA is also required before exploration or production drilling or production activities can commence.

The Coal Authority manages the UK’s coal reserves and must agree to any access to coal formations for any purpose.

Certain processes capture native hydrocarbons, which originate in coal seams. The exploitation of these require permission from the Coal Authority (for access to the coal) and a licence from DECC (for capture of the hydrocarbons). The processes include Coalbed methane (CBM) which liberates native methane from virgin coal seams and vent gas (also called mines gas) which captures methane from working or disused mines.

14th Round - Point of Contact

General Round enquiries

oilandgaslicensing@oga.gsi.gov.uk

Surface Development Restrictions

On 4th November 2015, the Department of Energy and Climate Change set out proposals for where fracking cannot be conducted from wells drilled at the surface.

These include, among others, National Parks, Areas of Outstanding National Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom said:

“The UK has one of the best track records in the world when it comes to protecting our environment while developing our industries.

“We have the right protections in place to ensure that fracking can go ahead safely without risk to our most beautiful and important natural sites. People should have confidence in these protections and in this vital industry which could create over 60,000 jobs and be worth billions of pounds to our economy – that is why we are providing further reassurance for our most valued areas.”

28th Round Second Tranche of Offers

These awards detailed below are conditional on compliance with the Offshore Safety Directive Regulations

Details of the offer of awards

Maps of seaward acreage offered

28th Seaward Licensing Round

On 6th November 2014, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced the offer of awards for Licenses in the 28th Seaward Licensing Round.

Below is a list of links detailing the offer and the Press Notice that includes a statement by Matt Hancock, the Minister for Energy.

Please note, as required by the Habitats Directive, a screening assessment has been carried out of the Blocks applied for in the 28th Round. As a result, 94 of the Blocks applied for, which are close to, or in, certain Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs), will be subject to further environmental assessments before any offer is made. A link to the page where this screening document appears on DECC’s website is provided below.

28th Round - awards

Details of the offer of awards

Maps of seaward acreage offered

28th Round - Contacts

First point of contact on 28th seaward round awards
Jen Brzozowska
tel: 0300 068 6030
email: jen.brzozowska@oga.gsi.gov.uk

Alternate contact
Ricki Kiff
tel: 0300 068 6042
email: ricki.kiff@oga.gsi.gov.uk

IT Technical enquires

UK Oil Portal support line: Email : ukop@oga.gsi.gov.uk

Final Award in the 26th Round For Seaward Blocks 41/18 & 41/19

The Minister for Energy, John Hayes, announced on 3rd April 2013 a final 26th Licensing Round award for seaward Blocks 41/18 & 41/19.

Please see links below for more detail

27th Round First Tranche of Offers

Details of the offer of awards

Maps of seaward acreage offered

27th Round Second Tranche of Offers

Details of the offer of awards

Maps of seaward acreage offered

Out of Round - Seaward blocks 211/18e & 211/19c

Past licensing rounds

Round Year Blocks offered Blocks applied for Blocks awarded Appns Licences Licence numbers Licence terms (years)(f)
1 1964 960 394 348 31 53 P001-P053 6+40
2 1965 1102 127 127 21 37 P054-P090 6+40
3 1970 157 117 106 34 37 P091-P127 6+40
4(a) 1971-2 436 286 282 259 118 P128-P245 6+40
5 1976-7 71 51 44 53 28 P259-P286 4+3+30
6 1978-9 46 46 42 55 26 P297-P322 4+3+30
7 1980-1 395 97 90 125 91 P325-P415 6+30
8(a) 1982-3 184 84 70 60 55 P417-P471 6+30
9(a) 1984-5 195 120 93 149 89 P477-P565 6+30
10 1986-7 127 61 51 75 51 P566-P616 6+30
11 1988-9 212 115 115 125 105 P617-P721 6+12+18
12 1990-1 161 116 107 115 74 P722-P795 6+12+18
13(b) 1990-1 117 66 66 13 6 P796-P801 9+15+24
14 1992-3 484 128 110 97 79 P803-P881 6+12+18
15 1994 81 34 29 25 20 P882-P901 6+12+18
16 1994-5 164 82 79 61 45 P902-P946 6+12+18
17 1996-7 275 127 114 32 25 P948-P972 3+6+15+24
18 1998 602 82 78 43 47 P975-P1021 6+12+18
19 2000-1 44 12 12 13 8 P1023-P1030 6+12+18
20 2002 289 36 36 29 25 P1039-P1063 4+4+18
21 2003 611 211 138 70 89 P1064-P1152 4+4+18
22 2004 1039 164 162 76 96 P1159-P1253 4+4+18(e) 2+4+6+18(d)
23 2005 1329 274 259 135 151 P1254-P1404 4+4+18(e) 2+4+6+18(d)
24 2007 1411 255 246 147 150 P1406-P1555 4+4+18(e) 2+4+6+18(d)
25 2009 2297 279 303 193 185 P1556-P1740 4+4+18(e) 6+6+18(d)
26 2010 2818 356 378 187 190 P1741-P1928 4+4+18(e) 6+6+18(d)
27 2012 2788 418 xx 224 xx xx 4+4+18(e) 6+6+18(d)

Licences issued other than in formal licensing rounds, including Segregation Licences and Out-of-Round Licences, are not included here.

One Licence number (P476) was allocated but not used.

Since the 11th Round, licences have continued into final term only if development had already approved or imminent.

A single application may cover separated areas, leading to more than one licence, which is why licences awarded may outnumber applications.

‘Blocks’ includes parts of blocks.

Table footnotes

(a) Five blocks offered in sealed-bid auction; the rest in standard way
(b) Frontier round
(c) One third relinquishment if two or more wells drilled; two thirds if only one well drilled; all if no wells drilled
(d) Frontier licences
(e) Traditional and/or Promote licences
(f) According to original terms of licences; subject therefore to subsequent circumstances and amendments
(x) Figures not yet available

Company contacts for previous rounds

Information about the following past licensing rounds is available on the National Archives: