March 1977 - Maritime Reporter and Engineering News

U.S. Firms Share In New U.K. Licenses For Offshore Oil

Great Britain's energy minister, Tony Wedgwood Benn, has announced the conditional award of offshore oil production licenses for 44 blocks to 65 oil companies.

The offshore blocks are in the seas on all sides of Britain. They involve approximately 18,000 square miles in the North Sea, Irish Sea, Cardigan Bay (West Wales), and the yet unexplored areas of the English Channel and the west of Scotland.

The oil companies involved include most of the major U.S. firms already active in North Sea operations. All applicants are said to have met the requirement which gives the government a majority stake in its offshore activity. The state-owned British National Oil Corporation (BNOC) will have a 51 percent share in the new licenses, plus the option to buy oil produced from the fields at market price. As a major shareholder, BNOC will bear its share of the exploration and development costs in all its partnerships.

A separate British report stated that by the early 1980s, more than 30 British oil and gas fields could be producing, compared with the 14 fields now contributing to the country's energy needs. During 1975, the offshore industry made 23 oil and three gas discoveries, and last year a further 15 reservoirs were identified.

Other stories from March 1977 issue


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