The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has awarded four new contracts worth nearly £1m for works in the offshore UK region.

The contracts were awarded to Shearwater GeoServices, Geokinetics, DMT Petrologic and Quality Seismic.

According to the contracts, these companies are required to supply more than 10,000km of reprocessed proprietary 2D seismic data of the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) as a part of the UK Government-funded seismic acquisition programme.

This reprocessed legacy seismic is located in the Anglo-Paris basin offshore, the Wessex and Weald Basins onshore, the South West Approaches, which includes deep imaging data from the British Institutes Reflection Profiling Syndicate (BIRPS), the Solway Firth, as well as the Unst Basin and the East Shetland Platform.

"This data has the potential to unlock areas that have not been explored for decades."

In 2017, it is scheduled to be openly released to the industry along with the recently acquired new seismic, gravity and magnetics data of South West Britain and East Shetland Platform.

OGA Exploration and New Ventures’ manager Dr Nick Richardson said: “This combined seismic dataset covers an offshore area equivalent to twice the United Kingdom’s landmass (approximately 500,000km²) and provides an unprecedented dataset to stimulate exploration activity.

“This data has the potential to unlock areas that have not been explored for decades and will support the evaluation of acreage to be made available in future OGA licensing rounds.”

In the last two years, the UK Government has allocated £40m to fund seismic acquisition programmes which the OGA has been using to develop a regional database of seismic data in under-explored areas of the UKCS.

This comprises two new seismic campaigns covering the Mid North Sea High and the Rockall Basin in 2015/16 and the East Shetland Platform and South West Britain in 2016/17.