Bids to probe for oil and gasoline in areas together with the North Sea have risen by nearly 50% since 2016, in accordance with new figures.

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) mentioned 36 purposes overlaying 164 blocks in frontier areas of the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) had been acquired within the 31st Offshore Licensing Round.

The OGA mentioned “sturdy and various” curiosity had come from “multinationals to micro companies”.

The bids will now be assessed.

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Some areas, such because the East Shetland Platform, have by no means been beforehand licensed.

Following technical analysis of the purposes, awards to profitable candidates are anticipated to be made within the second quarter of 2019.

However, the OGA mentioned it remained involved by low ranges of drilling exercise.

'Step up efforts'

Dr Nick Richardson, head of exploration and new ventures on the OGA, mentioned: “This is an encouraging set of purposes, demonstrating that curiosity in UK offshore licensing alternatives has elevated because the 29th frontier spherical held in 2016, with an nearly 50% improve within the variety of blocks utilized for.

“The OGA has acquired purposes on some blocks on the East Shetland Platform which have by no means been beforehand licensed.

“Whilst the UKCS presents a wealthy and enticing set of exploration and discipline growth alternatives, the OGA continues to be involved by low ranges of drilling exercise.

“We are encouraging trade to step up its efforts to discover for brand new sources, offering enhanced safety of home provide sooner or later.”

Earlier this month, the OGA mentioned the UK had sufficient oil reserves to maintain manufacturing for the following 20 years and past.

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The report estimated total remaining recoverable reserves and sources of as much as 20 billion barrels.

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