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18 August 2015 | by Gabor Chodkowski-Gyurics

First results of the UK 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round

First results of the UK 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round
UK’s Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) has granted companies the first group of 27 exploration blocks across the country in effect of the 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round, the regulator announced on August 18. A second group of 132 blocks is still subject to further environmental assessment and will be offered later this year.

While no licenses have been issued just yet, 12 operators were notified that the blocks are going to be awarded to them once the environmental assessment for the second group is completed. The largest beneficiary so far is IGas, which will be offered seven onshore blocks, followed by Cirque Resources with four blocks and Ineos with three. Other companies to receive the licenses include Hutton Energy, Egdon Resources and Cuadrilla Resources.

“It’s important we press on and get shale moving, while maintaining strong environmental controls,” UK Energy Minister Lord Bourne said. “Investment in shale could reach £33 billion and support 64,000 jobs creating financial security for hardworking people and their families, whilst providing a cost-efficient bridge to lower-carbon energy use,” he claimed. Britain has an estimated 822 to 2281 trillion cubic feet of shale gas, according to the British Geological Survey, of which about 10 oercent could be extracted.

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 blocks.

The partial award of blocks for exploration comes in the wake of the UK government implementing a law last week stripping local governments from the power to block exploration for long periods of time. Local council will now have a maximum of 16 weeks to grant or deny shale drilling applications before the decision is transferred directly to the government. Appeals involving shale gas projects will also be given priority by the administration.

The change is seen as a response to decisions of the Lancashire county council, which has been blocking the progress of several wells planned by Cuadrilla Resources since June 2014.


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