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    North Sea "back at the top" for exploration, claims Wilson

    News // May 23, 2003
    The UK's offshore oil and gas industry has received a double boost as the North Sea was confirmed as the global hot spot for new ventures, while the latest licensing round also showed a big upturn of interest.

    Robertson's International New Ventures Survey polled over 200 oil companies and covered 147 countries and showed that the United Kingdom has regained its first place in the rankings as the country most favoured by oil companies for new ventures in 2003.

    Energy Minister, Brian Wilson said: "This shows that the UK has a world-class oil and gas industry, and reaffirms our consistent message that there is a lot of life left in the North Sea.

    "The challenge now is to get licences into the hands of those companies most likely to use them. The message is getting across to many countries, particularly in North America, who appreciate the remaining potential of the UKCS."

    Mr Wilson also announced the applications for the 21st Offshore and 11th Onshore licensing rounds which show that the momentum of interest generated by the North Sea in recent years continues.

    130 "traditional" Offshore Production Licence applications were received, along with 40 new "Promote" Licence applications covering 140 blocks in total - an increase of over 100 on the previous round last year, and the largest number of blocks applied for since the early 1970s.

    Applications were received from 75 companies - 36 of which are potential new comers to the North Sea.

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