Reuters July 27th 2015
Britain on Monday awarded 41 licenses to drill for oil and gas in the North Sea, the government said, with oil majors Shell and ENI among the successful bidders.
The awards marked the end of Britain’s Oil And Gas Authority’s (OGA) latest licensing round. They brought the total number of licenses granted under the round to 175, making it one of the largest in the last 50 years.
Britain’s North Sea is one of the world’s most mature and therefore costly areas to explore for oil and gas. The high number of licenses issued shows the government is trying to attract as much exploration activity as possible to help dampen a rapid decline in North Sea production.
“Licenses are just a start, and industry, government and the OGA now need to work together to revitalize exploration activity across the basin and convert licenses into successful exploration wells,” said OGA Chief Executive Andy Samuel.
Italian oil company ENI was awarded three licenses, covering 23 blocks, while Shell received one license to explore 10 blocks, government data showed.
BG Group Plc on Friday confirmed that it has received final unconditional clearance from Brazilian competition authority CADE for its acquisition by bigger rival Royal Dutch Shell.
The clearance of the $70 billion merger follows the 15-day period during which the preliminary approval granted by CADE on 8th July could have been appealed.
Shell is set to become the largest Brazilian offshore foreign operator after it completes the merger with BG, which it announced in April.
The proposed acquisition had previously obtained a green light from United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and now only needs pre-conditional approvals from the European Union, Australia and China for the merger to be completed.
(Reporting by Ismail Shakil, Schaps; Editing by Pravin Char and Christian Plumb)