The UK Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) is preparing to award 27 licenses to companies, to explore for potential oil and gas, as part of the 14th onshore oil and gas licensing round.


Selected firms include IGas Energy, Cirque Energy (UK), Ineos Upstream, Cuadrilla Resources, Egdon Resources UK, Hutton Energy, Aurora Energy Resources, Blackland Park Exploration, GDF Suez E&P UK, Osprey Petroleum and Warwick Energy Exploration.

The decision comes just a week after the government unveiled plans to fast-track applications for shale gas.

Launched on 28 July 2014, the first round of the 14th licensing round received bids from 47 companies for areas covering 295 ordnance survey blocks.

UK Energy Minister Lord Bourne said: "As part of our long-term plan to build a more resilient economy, create jobs and deliver secure energy supplies, we continue to back our onshore oil and gas industry and the safe development of shale gas in the UK.

"This is why the OGA has moved quickly to confirm the winners of license blocks which do not need further environmental assessment."

Upon finalization of terms and conditions, the selected firms will receive licenses for their respective blocks offered.

Environmental groups, including Greenpeace UK and Friends of the Earth have opposed the government’s decision to offer fracking licenses over concerns on potential impact on rural economy.

The oil and gas regulator is planning to complete environmental assessment prior to allocating a further 132 blocks under the second round, later this year.

The second round will covers parts of north-west England, North Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight, reported Financial Times.

The UK shale gas industry is expected to attract investments worth around £33bn, which will support the region with 64,000 jobs, Bourne added.

In July, the UK Government proposed new regulations for underground shale fracking in protected areas.

Image: The UK shale gas industry is expected to attract £33bn investments. Photo: courtesy of suwatpo /