Wilson announces results of 20th licensing roundLegislation and Procedures // July 19, 2002
In a written reply to a Parliamentary Question from Anne Begg, MP, Mr Wilson said: "I have decided to award 25 Production Licences to Licence groups made up of 33 different companies. They include six companies acquiring their first offshore licences aswell as more familiarnames, and range from the super-giants to small new niche players".
"It is encouraging that so many companies see further opportunities for investment and development in the North Sea's core areas, even after nearly 40 years of intensive exploration there. It bodes well for future Licensing Rounds, which will cover a lotof acreage that, by contrast to what was on offer in this Round, is still under-explored and under-exploited. The DTI will seek to give every opportunity to small, innovative companies eager to exploit the UK's hydrocarbon resources with new technology.I am particularly delighted to see the response from newcomers who fully understand the potential rewards still to be made in the North Sea".
"In an effort to concentrate licensees' minds and prevent the appearance of fallow acreage in future, in pursuit of recommendations by PILOT, I have made some significant changes to the Licencescompared with earlier versions. The first two terms will last for four years each instead of six and twelve years respectively, and there will be a mandatory relinquishment of all acreage that is notcovered by a Development Plan at the end of the Second Term. The Government will also be enabled to publish information three years after receiving it, instead of five (or at licence surrender,whichever is sooner). All this is part of the Government's strategy of bringing together acreage with companies best fitted to exploit it."