Out of the seven licenses won, BP will be operator in five of them and will take part in the other two as partner.

The BP-operated licenses include the Skua field, located near its Marnock field, which in turn is part of the Eastern Trough Area Project (ETAP) hub. Another operated license is located near its Capercaillie and Vorlich discoveries to go along with a license in the Northern North Sea and two licenses located in Quadrant 208 west of Shetland.

One of BP’s non-operated licenses, which is operated by Maersk (Total), is located near the giant Culzean field. BP holds a stake of 32% in the Culzean field.

The other non-operated license for BP is operated by Equinor (formerly Statoil), which is located on the East Shetland Platform.

BP North Sea regional president Ariel Flores said: “This is another strong result for BP’s exploration programme in the North Sea with 26 blocks and commitments to one well and an extensive seismic programme. It builds on our success in the 29th Round last year which represented BP’s largest acreage award since the late 1990s.

“BP continues on a path of positive momentum in the North Sea as we bring on major projects; explore at higher levels than in recent times; and rapidly develop smaller fields located next to our established hubs. All of this is targeted at realising our ambitions to efficiently grow production and cash flows.”

The 30th offshore licensing round saw 123 licenses awarded by OGA to 61 companies. These licenses cover a total of 229 blocks or part-blocks, said the oil and gas regulator.

BP said that the latest UK offshore round awards follow its announcement in March of its participation in two exploration wells this year with Equinor as operator. The wells will target the Pip prospect in the Fladen Ground Spur area and the Bigfoot prospect, 30km south of the Mariner field.