London sees high interest in North Sea oil

Oct. 25, 2012 at 7:56 AM

LONDON, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- The British government announced Thursday that a record 330 blocks in the North Sea were awarded in its latest licensing round.

In May, the British Department of Energy and Climate Change announced 224 applicants filed for the rights to develop North Sea blocks. From those, DECC awarded 167 new licenses covering 330 North Sea blocks.

"This successful licensing round shows we are taking the right action to offer certainty and confidence to investors," British Energy Minister John Hayes said in a statement.

His announcement follows Wednesday's approval of a $2.5 billion investment by Talisman Energy to extend the life of North Sea oil fields.

Development from existing fields in the MonArb redevelopment area in the North Sea translates to an additional 100 million barrels of oil equivalent, the DECC said.

"The North Sea has been a bedrock of the U.K. economy, creating jobs, investment and energy security for nearly 50 years," said Hayes. "We must do all we can to prolong the economic life of our oil rich seas and make the most of this precious resource."

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