Licence applications

We run a competitive licensing system and applications may only be made in accordance with approved procedures.

Licensing rounds

The OGA issues production licences through competitive licensing rounds because they yield better quality bids than other methods. Unlike auctions, for instance, licensing rounds do not divert significant sums of money away from exploration work, and give a much better expectation that a licence will be awarded to the bid that promises to maximise the economic recovery of the UK’s oil and gas resources. Consultation has also revealed the industry’s preference for this system because of its predictability. Click here to view current and previous licensing rounds. You can apply for offshore and onshore petroleum licences during a licensing round, held by the OGA via the Licence Application Repository (LARRY) accessed through the UK Energy Portal.

Out-of-round application process

There may be exceptional circumstances where it would be reasonable for a company not to have to wait for the next licensing round to get a licence, so the OGA also has an out-of-round application process. It can only be used if justified by exceptional circumstances, and is not a routine alternative to licensing rounds.

The OGA can only accept licence applications in response to a formal invitation to apply, so any company seeking an out-of-round licence must first convince the OGA of the case to issue an out-of-round invitation. The process will usually entail publication of the invitation in the European Journal with applications being taken at least 90 days later.

Companies who want the OGA to consider an out-of-round process should email in the first instance. If the OGA invites applications, they should be made in the same way as during a licensing round and the same guidance will apply.

Applying for an Offshore or Onshore Exploration Licence

Exploration Licences are not exclusive so they do not raise issues of competition. Companies can apply at any time for a new Exploration Licence (or for an extension to an existing Exploration Licence). For more information on Exploration Licences and related fees please view Types of Licences.

Exploration licence application form (MS Word Document, 5KB)

Please email completed Exploration Licence application forms to