The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) offered two dozen licenses to 17 companies in its second tranche of the 33rd Oil and Gas Licensing Round.

On Jan. 31, NSTA said Shell, Equinor, BP, TotalEnergies and NEO were among the companies that were offered licenses across 74 blocks and part-blocks. The areas offered under tranche two are in the Central North Sea, Northern North Sea and west of Shetland areas.

In the first tranche, NSTA awarded 27 licenses, bringing the total licenses offered so far to 51, with additional allocations planned. Those blocks, mostly in the Southern North Sea and East Irish Sea, will be offered when environmental evaluations and assessments are final, NSTA said. 

The round opened in October 2022, putting more than 900 blocks on the U.K. Continental Shelf on offer, and closed in January 2023 after receiving 115 bids from 76 companies.

Internal NSTA analysis shows that the average time between licensing and first production is currently close to five years, which means these licenses could be producing before the end of the decade.

“We will continue to need oil and gas over the coming decades, so it is common sense to make the most of our own resources – with domestically produced gas almost four times cleaner than importing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from abroad,” Graham Stuart, minister for energy security and net zero, said in a press release.

The awarded licensees, blocks and stakes are:

  • Anasuria Hibiscus, blocks 15/13c and 15/18c, 100%;
  • Apache Beryl, Block 9/18f, 100%;
  • BP, blocks 23/16d and 23/17, 100%;
  • Dana Petroleum, blocks 22/10b, 22/15c, 23/6, 23/11b and 23/16e, 100%;
  • Dana Petroleum, Block 21/30g in partnership with Tailwind Mistral and Waldorf Production;
  • Deltic Energy, blocks 22/24f, 22/25e and 29/4b, 100%;
  • Eni Elgin/Franklin, Block 16/22b, 100%;
  • EnQuest Heather, blocks 9/1 and 9/2c, 100%;
  • Equinor, blocks 3/10c, 3/14f, 3/15f, 3/19d and 3/20c, 100%;
  • Equinor, blocks 205/1b, 205/2b, 205/3, 205/6, 205/7, 213/23, 213/24a, 213/28 and 213/29a, in partnership with Suncor Energy;
  • Harvester Energy, blocks 22/12b and 29/7b, 100%;
  • Neo Energy, blocks 21/25c and 22/21d, 100%;
  • Neo Energy, blocks 15/22b, 15/23b, 15/27a and 15/28a in partnership with Ithaca MA Ltd;
  • Neo Energy, blocks 211/11 and 211/16b, in partnership with Shell;
  • North Sea Natural Resources, blocks 20/28, 20/29, 20/30a, 21/26a, 100%;
  • Orcadian Energy, blocks 29/16, 29/17, 29/18, 29/19, 29/21, 29/22, 29/23, 29/27 and 29/28, in partnership with Triangle Energy;
  • Painted Wolf Resources, blocks 21/30h and 22/26 e, 100%;
  • Parkmead, blocks 14/15a, 14/20d, 15/11a, in partnership with Orcadian;
  • Ping Petroleum, blocks 21/1b, 21/6a and 21/7a, 100%;
  • Shell, blocks 30/2e and 30/3c, 100%; and
  • TotalEnergies, blocks 213/15b, 213/19, 213/20, 213/24b, 213/25, 213/29b, 213/30a, 214/11b, 214/16 and 214/21, in partnership with Shell.