Serica Energy has been awarded a production licence in the UK’s 25th offshore licensing round.

The independent oil and gas explorer will oversee block 22/19c where it holds a 100% working interest.

Block 22/19c lies in the UK Central North Sea and is located about 20km west of Serica Energy’s Columbus field, currently under development. The licence contains two Palaeocene Forties sand prospects, known as Oates and Bowers.

The Oates prospect is considered low risk and exhibits a well-defined amplitude response on the 3D seismic data, similar to that seen in the Columbus field, in which the company has drilled three wells.

The Oates prospect has estimated prospective resources of 180 billion standard cubic feet of gas or 60 million barrels of oil, depending upon whether oil or gas is found.

The licence is classed as a traditional and, during the initial term of four years, Serica Energy must drill a well to test the Palaeocene target. At the end of the initial term, 50% of the licence area must be relinquished.

Serica Energy is the operator of the licence and of the Columbus gas-condensate field in block 23/16f, which is under development 20km east of block 22/19c.