The Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) – the UK’s oil and gas regulator – has announced that 27 onshore locations from the 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round will be formally offered to companies.
A second group – of 132 further locations – has been subjected to detailed assessment under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, the findings of which are now out for consultation.
Subject to the outcome of that consultation, the OGA will announce offers for the second group of licence blocks later in the year.
The licences for all available locations will then be granted after the terms and conditions have been finalised.
Energy minister Lord Bourne said: “As part of our long-term plan to build a more resilient economy, create jobs and deliver secure energy supplies, we continue to back our onshore oil and gas industry and the safe development of shale gas in the UK. This is why the OGA has moved quickly to confirm the winners of licence blocks that do not need further environmental assessment.
“Keeping the lights on and powering the economy is not negotiable, and these industries will play a key part in providing secure and reliable energy to homes and businesses for decades to come.
“It’s important we press on and get shale moving, while maintaining strong environmental controls. Investment in shale could reach £33bn and support 64,000 jobs, creating financial security for hardworking people and their families while also providing a cost-efficient bridge to lower-carbon energy use.”
The 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round was launched on 28 July 2014 and closed on 28 October.
A total of 95 applications were received from 47 companies, covering 295 Ordnance Survey locations.