A total of 41 new licences have been awarded for oil and gas operations in the North Sea.

The Oil and Gas Authority (Oga) confirmed the new licences yesterday after 134 were announced in November last year.

The UK oil and gas regulator said the move makes it one of the largest rounds in the five decades.

Oga chief executive Andy Samuel said: “The UK continental shelf remains a world-class hydrocarbon province where significant resources and economic value remain to be realised.

“The good level of interest in the 28th round highlights the continued attractiveness of the UK’s oil and gas resources.”

He said the UK Government and the Oga should now work together to revitalise exploration and find productive wells.

UK Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom said: “We are determined to make the most of our North Sea resources to provide secure, reliable energy for hard-working families and businesses, and reduce our reliance on volatile foreign imports.

“We are backing our oil and gas industry which supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across the UK.”

In March the UK Government announced a major package of support to encourage £4 billion of additional investment in the North Sea.

Environmental groups said more oil and gas drilling puts the marine environment at risk and undermines efforts to curb carbon emissions after warnings about global temperatures.

Source: The Courier