29th round frontier acreage. The 31st round offshore UK will be announced this year. Kartografi: OGA

Measures to maximize values

The UK Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has taken a number of initiatives to stimulate activity and improve delivery .

“High bidding interest in the 30th Licensing Round is early evidence of the success of these measures, which will also support the imminent launch of the 31st Licensing Round across frontier areas of the UKCS including the East Shetland Platform, Rockall Basin, Celtic Sea and Mid North Sea High,” says Nick Richardson, Head of Exploration & New Ventures in OGA.

The UK Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) was fully established in 2016 recognizing that the increasing maturity of the basin required a different regulatory approach, with an independent regulator working closely with Industry and Government (HM Treasury, BEIS, HMRC, and other governmental bodies) with the aim of maximising the value of economic recovery from the UKCS.

Initiatives include:

  • Increase both the quantity and quality of exploration wells by management of the portfolio of prospects, promotion to industry and stewardship of licence work programmes
  • Integration of near-field exploration into Area Plans associated with key infrastructure hubs
  • Introduction of regular annual licence rounds, with separation and alternation of mature and frontier areas
  • Commissioning and publication of regional geoscience data, including regional seismic datasets and regional maps
  • A new flexible “innovate” licence framework, with very low entry barriers
  • A focus on digital data access and analysis

“The OGA also works to mitigate wider barriers to exploration such as access to infrastructure, JV mis-alignment and fiscal terms,” says Richardson.

The 31st offshore licensing round is a frontier round to be opened in 2018. It is supported with new, opely available government funded seismic.

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