Interest in the seas west of Shetland has “increased appreciably” with most of the income to the UK expected to come from the area by 2030.
The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has launched the 32nd offshore licensing round, insisting fossil fuels will remain “an important part” of the country’s energy mix for the foreseeable future.
The authority says 768 blocks, or part-blocks, are on offer across the main producing areas of the UK continental shelf.
It adds that acreage is on offer in the Central North Sea, Northern North Sea and the Southern North Sea, as well as West of Shetland.
The OGA stated it was making “a significant volume of data” available in support of the licensing round.
Data packs have been collated to assist industry in their efforts to stimulate exploration.
It is said to be the largest publicly available geochemical database for the continental shelf, representing over 90,000 geochemical samples from more than 2,700 wells.
OGA principal regional geologist Jo Bagguley said: “This latest release of carefully targeted, value-adding data demonstrates the OGA’s continued commitment to supporting industry in its efforts to revitalise exploration.”
Meanwhile, the Faroes Oil Industry Group has also highlighted the fifth Faroese licensing round, which has opened simultaneously alongside with the UK round.
A news release sent to this newspaper stated: “Interest in the area between the Faroes and Shetland has increased appreciably in recent years.
“It is estimated that the greater part of the income which the UK Exchequer receives from oil and gas activities will be derived from this area, also known as the Atlantic Margin, by 2030.”