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    North Sea still attracting interest - latest licensing rounds a success

    News // June 11, 2004
    Responses to the 22nd Offshore and 12th Onshore Licensing Round haveshown that there is still a great deal of international interest inthe opportunities afforded in the UK for oil and gas exploration andrecovery.

    In addition to the Traditional licences and the recently introducedPromote licences, the 22nd Offshore Round saw the introduction of theinnovative "Frontier" licence designed to spark interest in the newlyoffered blocks to the North and West of the Shetlands islands. Allthree licences generated an encouraging amount of interest:

    Four Frontier licence applications were received, proving the worthof innovation when seeking to encourage exploration.

    42 Promote licence applications were received, a further improvement on last year's highly successful result.

    30 Traditional licence application were received, equalling the tally from 2003.

    164 seaward blocks were applied for in total, 25 more than the previous round.

    20 of the 68 companies who applied are potentially new entrants in the North Sea further endorsing the belief that the UKCS is still a vibrant basin for investment and reward.

    30 applications for onshore licences, more than three times the amount from the previous round.

    UK Energy Minster Stephen Timms said: "I am delighted with the positive response to our latest offshore licensing round which builds on last year's success. The applications for the new Frontier licence, for the area to the North and West of Shetlands, are particularly encouraging. This is an exciting region and the fresh look at what may be available there is to be welcomed. The Government, working closely with industry through PILOT, will continue to innovate to maintain and encourage investment and exploration in the North Sea. Applications for licences from 20 potential newcomers to the region are a further sign that there remains plenty of interest and belief in the potential of the North Sea."

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