UK Energy Minister awards 37 licences to 21 companies for oil and gas

Jul 28, 2000 02:00 AM

Energy Minister Helen Liddell awarded 37 licences to 21 companies for onshore oil and gas exploration in England, Wales and Scotland. Almost half of the 123 blocks licensed are for the exploration of coal bed methane and mines gas. This announcement is the first tranche of awards resulting from the Ninth UK Onshore Licensing Round. Several applications still have issues outstanding and further awards will be made subject to these being resolved.
In a written reply to a Parliamentary Question from David Stewart MP (Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber), Mrs. Liddell said: "The UK's onshore oil and gas industry has a strong future, as shown by the high level of interest in this Round. The areas covered by the awards range from Scotland to southern England, and include acreage never previously considered for oil and gas exploration. It is encouraging to see licences going to new applicants from both the UK and overseas. Over 60 blocks are for mines gas and coalbed methane, offering the potential fornew jobs in former mining communities. This gas will now contribute to the UK's energy supply rather than being wasted."

1. The launch of the 9th Landward Licensing Round was announced on 3 February 2000 (DTI Press Notice P/2000/74). A notice in the Official Journal of the European Communities on 15 January gave 90 days for applications to be received and set out the criteria against which applications would be assessed.
2. Successful applicants have been awarded Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences (PEDLs) which enable the holders to explore for, appraise and develop the petroleum resources of Great Britain within certain specified areas. (Northern Ireland has its own petroleum licensing regime.)
3. Any exploration and development activity under a PEDL requires planning permission from the local planning authority and other approvals in the usual way. In addition, the Secretary of State's consent is required for exploration drilling and petroleum developments.
4. Licence holders haveno right of access to land save with the landowners' permission.
5. An announcement about a small number of outstanding applications will be made as soon as possible.
6. Further information on the possible exploitation of coal bed methane resources and associated technical and policy issues can be found in Government Energy Paper 67, published by the Stationery Office in April 1999.
7. All exploitation of coal related gases must be carried out in consultation with the Coal Authority and the operators of active mines in the vicinity.

Source: M2 PressWIRE via Newspage
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