Shell and BP among 17 companies awarded North Sea oil and gas licenses

Shell and BP are among 17 companies awarded 24 licenses in the second share of the 33rd oil and gas licensing round.

In the first allocation last October, 27 licences were awarded. The 74 exploration blocks and part-blocks offered this time are in the Central North Sea, Northern North Sea, and West of Shetland areas.

The remaining blocks, the majority in the Southern North Sea and East Irish Sea, will be offered when environmental evaluations, including Habitat Regulation Assessment (HRA) Appropriate Assessments, are finalised by OPRED.

The news from the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) comes days after the Climate Change Committee (CCC) advised the government to support the acceleration of the global transition away from fossil fuels.

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Greenpeace campaigner Philip Evans said the government still has “its fingers in its ears”.

“The government knows that the fossil fuel industry is driving the climate crisis, but instead of cracking down on oil and gas giants like Shell, they’re greenlighting a new drilling frenzy in the North Sea,” said Evans.

“This will do nothing to lower bills or increase our energy security but will cause further climate chaos around the world.”

Minister for energy security and net zero Graham Stuart however emphasised that oil and gas is essential to boost economy and “strengthen” energy security by “backing an industry that supports 200,000 jobs and is worth £16 billion each year”.

“We will continue to need oil and gas over the coming decades, so it is common sense to make the most of our own resources – with domestically produced gas almost four times cleaner than importing Liquefied Natural Gas from abroad,” he said.

Climate crisisEnergyNet zeroNews

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