The UK Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has awarded 12 licences to a total of ten companies in the 2016 supplementary offshore licensing round.
This supplementary round was launched in December last year and closed applications in March. In this, OGA originally awarded 14 blocks in response to industry nominations of areas outside of those covered by frontier 29th licensing round last year.
Locations varied across the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), from the southern North Sea to east of Shetland.
During this round, blocks were offered under flexible terms, which enabled applicants to define a licence duration and phasing and execute their optimal work programme.
OGA chief executive Andy Samuel said: "We’re listening to industry and are pleased to make available a number of additional, nominated areas.
"The strong interest in this round bodes well for the forthcoming 30th round, demonstrating the renewed attractiveness of the UKCS and the opportunity for operators to rebuild their portfolios with a mixture of exploration, development and redevelopment activity."
OGA received a total of 15 applications covering 11 blocks, and is now offering 12 licences covering the 11 blocks.
Five of the awards cover work programmes that will proceed straight to the second term, either for potential developments, or redevelopments of fields where production had stopped and the acreage had been relinquished.
The remaining licences are set to enter the initial term (exploration stage).
Earlier, the 29th offshore licensing round awarded 25 licences for 111 blocks or part blocks to 17 companies for frontier areas in March this year.
The 30th offshore licensing round is expected to be announced during the third quarter of this year and will focus on mature areas of the UKCS.