The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has awarded exploration and production rights to a range of operators in the 31st North Sea licencing round.
The 31st round featured areas such as the Faroe-Shetland Basin and the Moray Firth.
A host of companies from new entrants to supermajors have been awarded the licences.
The OGA confirmed a number of proposed new work programmes have been secured in the round, including two licences progressing straight to field development planning.
The OGA has also reported stronger interest in this round than the previous frontier offering, the 29th round, in 2016.
That was partly due to a number of incentives to stimulate interest including a suite of new data and digital maps to support oil and gas recovery.
The attention will now turn to the 32nd round focussed on mature regions within the North Sea, due to be launched in the summer.
Head of exploration, Nick Richardson, said: “Exploration on the UK Continental Shelf continues to be revitalised with the results indicating a continuation of the strong interest shown in the previous frontier round, the 29th Round in 2016.
“It has been very encouraging to see industry generating new prospects and play concepts, and seeking acreage in areas which have never before been licensed, such as parts of the East Shetland Platform, underlining the positive impact of ongoing Government-Funded data initiatives.”
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