LONDON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Austrian energy company OMV announced it was awarded 16 exploration blocks in northern British waters during a recent licensing round.
OMV, through a regional subsidiary, said it won the rights to explore the region west of the Shetland Islands.
OMV board member Jaap Huijskes said the awards secure the company's asset base in the region.
"Our focus for new exploration in the U.K. is on the west of Shetland area and we intend to build on our already good track record in exploration there in the last 10 years," he said in a statement.
OMV provided few details about the reserve potential in the area. It's been working in the region's Rosebank field, which is estimated to hold around 240 million barrels of oil equivalent in potentially recoverable reserves.
British Energy Minister John Hayes, in giving consent to Chevron to drill in the region this week, said the Shetland area was a new frontier in the development of the country's oil and natural gas sector.
"Production from our waters provides nearly half our energy needs," he said in a statement.