The UK’s Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has launched an Offshore Licensing Round for the Greater Buchan Area of the North Sea.

Under the Supplementary 31st Offshore Licensing Round, oil and gas companies get an opportunity to collaborate to increase economic recovery of up to 300 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe) in the field.

The Greater Buchan Area is situated in the Outer Moray Firth in the North Sea and features 5,800km² of acreage that is currently unlicensed.

The acreage includes a number of undeveloped discoveries and prospects.

As part of the licensing round, the OGA is encouraging the companies to progress the local material exploration and development opportunities by collaborating with each other.

“There’s been excellent interest in the Greater Buchan Area.”

Oil production at the Buchan Field started in 1981 using the Buchan Alpha floating drilling rig, but much volume remains untapped. This is expected to be exploited by collaborative partnerships between the companies.

The OGA aims to develop an Area Plan with industry linked to a licensing round to increase economic recovery of the remaining resources.

OGA chief executive Dr Andy Samuel said: “There’s been excellent interest in the Greater Buchan Area. There’s much to play for from exploration through to development opportunities.

“We are encouraging prospective operators to look beyond individual opportunities and actively partner with other companies to establish a mutually beneficial Area Plan realising the full economic potential in the area.”

To support the supplementary round, the OGA released substantial information and data, including seismic data packages, as well as plans to make more data openly available.

The data included well data for 154 wells, 3D seismic surveys, relinquishment and technical reports.