UK Launches New Licensing Round for Offshore Oil and Gas

3 months ago 21

A caller licensing circular for oil and gas exploration successful the North Sea volition beryllium launched astatine 6 p.m. connected Friday, the UK’s lipid and state regulator said.

The program was initially announced successful April arsenic portion of the government’s energy information strategy amid precocious prices and Russia’s penetration of Ukraine.

Business and Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said the caller licensing circular volition boost jobs, vigor security, and the British economy.

He besides said home accumulation of state “has a little c footprint than importing from abroad.”

More than 100 licenses whitethorn beryllium awarded for the exploration and imaginable improvement of 898 blocks and part-blocks successful the North Sea, the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) said.

But successful a bid to promote the accumulation of caller lipid and state supplies arsenic rapidly arsenic possible, the NSTA has identified 4 “priority clump areas” successful the confederate North Sea.

These areas (pdf)—located disconnected Norfolk, Lincolnshire, and Yorkshire—are known to incorporate hydrocarbons and are adjacent to existing infrastructure, giving them the imaginable to beryllium developed quickly.

Applicants person until 2 p.m. connected Jan. 12, 2023 to bid for the blocks. The NSTA said it expects to grant the archetypal licenses successful the 2nd 4th of 2023.

The regulator besides said this investigation shows the mean clip betwixt find and archetypal accumulation is “close to 5 years and falling.”

The licensing of lipid and state explorations was paused past twelvemonth arsenic the authorities committed to a “Climate Compatibility Checkpoint” earlier each licensing circular to “ensure licences awarded are aligned with wider clime objectives, including net-zero emissions by 2050, and the UK’s divers vigor supply.”

In the checkpoint plan (pdf) published connected Sept. 22, the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy said different licensing circular “would not materially impact” the quality of the UK to “meet the planetary commitments it has made to combat planetary warming.”

Speaking to “BBC Breakfast,” clime curate Graham Stuart said a new licensing circular for lipid and state exploration successful the North Sea is “good for the situation due to the fact that erstwhile we pain our ain state it’s got little emissions astir its accumulation than overseas state … arsenic good arsenic supporting British jobs.”

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon accused the UK authorities of taking a “haphazard attack to it which is undermining vigor security.”

“Any consent for caller [oil and gas] exploration should not hap without the astir stringent clime compatibility checks,” she told the BBC’s “Today” programme, adding it would not hap successful an autarkic Scotland “without stringent compatibility checks. Not with Jacob Rees-Mogg waking up successful the greeting and deciding it’s the close happening to do.”

Sturgeon said renewable vigor is the way to vigor security.

Prime Minister Liz Truss defended the government’s vigor policy. In a drawstring of Twitter posts, Truss said the authorities is accelerating domestic vigor accumulation to “secure our semipermanent vigor proviso and trim reliance connected authoritarian regimes,” including oil, gas, hydrogen, solar, wind, and atomic energy.

PA Media contributed to this report.

Lily Zhou


Lily Zhou is an Irish-based newsman focusing connected UK news. Lily archetypal joined the Chinese variation of The Epoch Times earlier turning her absorption connected the UK successful 2020. Contact Lily astatine [email protected]