North Sea industry has shown it is “fit and ready” to ramp up levels of exploration drilling, an industry expert said today.
Mike Tholen, upstream policy director at Oil and Gas UK (OGUK), said the sector’s focus on efficiency and the success of the 30th licensing round boded well for the future.
He said speaking after the Oil and Gas Authority launched the 31st offshore bidding round, focusing on frontier areas of the UK continental shelf.
A total of 1,766 blocks – covering 140,000 sq miles – have been put up for grabs.
Mr Tholen said: “This is an exciting licensing round and is a timely reminder of the wealth of untapped potential which lies in the UK continental shelf.
“The announcement represents the culmination of three year’s close collaboration with the Oil and Gas Authority to update the licensing process and open up under explored acreage on the East Shetland Platform, South Western Approaches, and Mid North Sea High.
“With an industry-wide focus on efficiency and innovation, a stable fiscal regime, and a positive response to the 30th round, industry is fit and ready to usher in a new era of exploration in the North Sea.”
Mr Tholen added: “Frontier exploration is, however, a long game and requires businesses to be confident future opportunities. Fiscal and regulatory stability remains a prerequisite if we are to realise the benefits of exploration activity which is badly needed to boost production and activity.”