We hold offshore and onshore licensing rounds, inviting applications from companies and making awards to those bids that promise to ensure economic recovery of the UK’s oil and gas resources, whilst supporting the drive to net zero carbon by 2050.

The Review of Future Licensing of Offshore Oil and Gas

In September 2020 the Government carried out a review of the policy on licensing for North Sea oil and gas to ensure it was compatible with climate change objectives.

Noting the ongoing role of oil and gas on our path to net zero, the Government will introduce a new Climate Compatibility Checkpoint on future oil and gas licensing rounds to ensure they are compatible with wider climate objectives, including net-zero emissions by 2050. This checkpoint will use the latest evidence of the time, looking at the UK’s demand for oil and gas, the sector’s projected production levels, the increasing prevalence of clean technologies such as offshore wind and carbon capture, and the sector’s continued progress against its ambitious emissions reduction targets. 

In parallel, the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning is conducting a new Offshore Energy Strategic Environmental Assessment which will underpin future licensing rounds. The OGA plans to run another licensing round for oil and gas exploration on the completion of this assessment.

14th Onshore Licensing Round

On 17 December 2015, we announced that licences for a total of 159 blocks were formally offered to successful applicants under the 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round.