HC Deb 26 April 1990 vol 171 cc277-8W
Mr. Wood

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether he has any proposals for a further round of offshore licensing for the established petroleum areas of the United Kingdom continental shelf.

Mr. Peter Morrison

I am today making available a list of the blocks which will be available for licensing in the 12th offshore round.

I am making the list available at this stage to give applicant companies an opportunity to carry out preliminary seismic work, which will assist them in choosing the blocks to apply for, during the limited fair weather season in our offshore waters.

There will be 120 blocks and groups of blocks on offer distributed across the most prospective areas of the United Kingdom continental shelf. The number of blocks (including grouped and part blocks) in each area is as follows:

Number of Blocks
Northern North Sea 17
Central North Sea 34
Southern North Sea 41
Moray Firth 21
East Shetland Platform 1
Irish Sea/Manx Basin 3
English Channel 2
Caernarvon Basin 1

I shall place in the Libraries of both Houses a full list of the blocks which are available for licensing in the round.

The exploration which will follow from a round containing this number and range of blocks will help to ensure that the UKCS remains a major oil province well into the next century, and that the nation will continue to benefit from the efficient and safe exploitation of a valuable national resource.

As in previous rounds, it will be necessary in the case of many blocks to specify additional conditions which the operator will be required to observe when undertaking activity under the licence. These will be designed to take into account the concerns of defence, fishing, environmental, navigational and other interests.

As soon as possible after the necessary statutory instrument is in place, I will publish in the London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes a formal announcement giving the detailed financial terms for 12th round licences and the basis on which awards will be made. The model clauses incorporated in the 12th round licences will generally be the same as those incorporated into existing licences issued as a result of the 11th offshore round. Additional licence conditions, the format of licence applications, and the information required, will be available from my Department as soon as the Gazette notice has been published.

Applications will be returnable by a date in December 1990 which has yet to be determined.