Details about the upcoming North Sea licensing round are being kept under wraps until after the Queen’s funeral.
A spokesman for the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has confirmed no details will be published until the period of national mourning for Elizabeth II ends next week.
Just hours before the Queen’s death was announced on Thursday, Liz Truss approved plans for a new North Sea licensing round.
The new Prime Minister expects over 100 fresh exploration permits to be handed out to oil and gas companies.
A new licensing round formed the backbone of her energy package aimed at shoring up UK hydrocarbon supplies, while also ramping up the deployment of renewables.
Ms Truss’ end goal is to turn the UK into a “net energy exporter by 2040”.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, fresh from taking up the Business Secretary brief, revealed later that day that the hope is to launch the licensing round next month.
But a formal statement on the finer details of the process will have to wait until the time of mourning concludes on September 20, the day after Elizabeth II’s funeral.
A spokesman for the NSTA said: “There won’t be any announcements from the NSTA on any subject until after the mourning period ends.
“The exact dates of any announcements are not yet available.”
Boosting North Sea supplies has been a key focus of government following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
A dearth of Russian gas on the global market sent commodity prices through the roof, fuelling inflation and sending energy bills skywards.
Formerly called the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), the NSTA is responsible for issuing new oil and gas exploration licences.
The last series to take place in the UK North Sea, the 32nd UK Offshore Licensing Round, was held in 2020.
The industry regulator offered for award 113 licence areas over 259 blocks or part-blocks to 65 companies in the 32nd Offshore Licensing Round.
At the time the OGA confirmed it was taking a temporary pause from annual licence round activity to allow relinquishments to take place so more coherent areas may be reoffered in future.