115 Bids Received in Britain’s First Oil and Gas Licensing Round Since 2019

Britain’s first oil and gas exploration licensing round since 2019 received 119 bids , up from 104 in the last round, the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) said on Tuesday. Licenses are expected to be awarded from the second quarter of 2023. Despite criticism from environmental groups, the British government has been looking to increase the country’s hydrocarbon output, as Europe tries to wean itself off Russian energy.

While UK North Sea’s biggest producer Harbour did not take part in the licensing round, citing recent increase in windfall tax on the oil and gas sector, other energy majors like Shell and BP were present.

The 115 bids came from 76 companies for 258 of 931 blocks on offer. That compared with 104 bids for 245 blocks out of 768 on offer in 2019, the NSTA said.

The British North Sea, home to the Brent global benchmark grade, is an aging basin where oil and gas production has fallen from a 1999 peak of about 4.4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) to about 1.5 million boed.

While hosting the 2021 COP26 climate summit, Britain decided not to join an alliance of countries vowing to stop new oil and gas projects on their territory.

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