On 6 December 2016, the Oil and Gas Authority (the “OGA”) invited applications for licences to be awarded in the Offshore 2016 Supplementary Round. Fourteen blocks have been offered outside the recent 29th Licensing Round which concluded in October.

The fourteen blocks on offer are spread across the entire basin, from the East of Shetland to the Southern North Sea. The additional round offers “Innovate Licences” developed by the MER UK Exploration Board and adopting more flexible and pragmatic approach to exploration and work commitments. We wrote in more detail about the Innovate Licences when they were first introduced in the 29th Licensing Round here, and most recently around the consultation on proposed changes to the model clauses for Seaward Production Licences.

This offer follows on from the modest 29th Licensing Round focused on frontier areas which had been targeted by the OGA-funded £20 million seismic data and surveying programme. The Supplementary Round compliments the previous round ahead of the next “main” licensing round to be focused on the wide UK Continental Shelf and in particular on near-field infrastructure exploration acreage.

Applications for licences will be accepted up to 16:00 on 7 March 2017.