THE increase in UK E & A (exploration and appraisal) activity continues; 32 well starts so far in 2008, and 18 sidetracks. Of these, 22 are exploratory and 10 appraisal. This represents an increase of 85% over the same period in 2007; 63% increase for exploration and 150% for appraisal. Fifteen rigs are currently active, and May starts include Valiant's 9/22-3 (Globe/Roebuck), IOC's 15/13a-9 (Hood), Oilexco's 16/21b-34 (Delta), Nexen's 19/4-2 (Full Moon), Maersk's 22/25a-9 (Culzean) and RWE's 49/2a-6 (Topaz). BG's Jackdaw 30/2a-7 and ConocoPhillips' Jasmine/North Terrace 30/6-7 appraisals are now more than seven months into their respective programmes, the last named on its third sidetrack.