The Oil and Gas Authority has awarded more than £200,000 in the final stage of its exploration licence competition which was launched earlier this year to stimulate further interest in offshore oil and gas exploration activity in the United Kingdom Continental Shelf (UKCS).

Australian privately owned geoscience company FROGTECH, not-for-profit earth sciences consultancy Geoscience Wales and private company Geop4ysics Limited will now complete their innovative interpretations and products using data acquired during last year’s UK Government funded £20m seismic survey of the Rockall Trough and Mid-North Sea High (MNSH) areas.

FROGTECH, based in Canberra, Australia, has approached the project utilising their SEEBASE™ product (Structurally Enhanced view of Economic BASEment). They will produce a unique, hand-contoured depth-to-basement model of the Rockall and MNSH areas which will provide greater insight into the foundation of the geological basement, rather than relying on more traditional gravity inversion methods. Additional deliverables include the interpretation of basement terranes, major structures and basement-derived heat flow.

Geoscience Wales’ project is being completed by six of their associates, industry professionals from across the UK, many of whom have worked on the MNSH area throughout their careers. Their primary aim is to document the potential effective petroleum systems present within the area with a strong focus on source rock geochemistry and basin modelling.

Kinga Wroblewska, owner of Geop4ysics Ltd., set up her company in March this year after spending more than 17 years’ working for various oil and gas service companies in the geoscience sector. Her project will integrate rock physics into the overall interpretation of the MNSH data set. The aim of this is to identify lithological variations and use these to help define the extent of both potential and known reservoir units.

Gunther Newcombe, OGA Exploration, Production and Decommissioning Director, said: “Despite the global downturn in the oil and gas industry, the overwhelmingly positive response to this competition highlights the tenacity and talent of the global geoscience community.

“All the projects submitted will provide greater insight into our understanding of the Rockall Trough and Mid-North Sea High areas, while adding value to our evaluation of 29th Offshore Licensing Round applications.

“Given the high quality of the technical work delivered by all applicants, there is also the option for products to be integrated into other OGA exploration initiatives, such as the production of regional geological maps, to proactively influence and incentivise exploration on the UKCS.”

The OGA’s exploration licence competition launched in March 2016 and attracted more than 60 applications from the UK, Canada, USA, Australia and Europe. It was designed to encourage geoscientists to develop innovative interpretations and products using the data acquired from the Rockall Trough and MNSH areas and to increase the understanding of these frontier areas ahead of the 29th Seaward Licensing Round which opened last month.


Notes to editors:

  • The OGA’s exploration licence competition was announced by the then Prime Minister, the Rt Hon David Cameron MP, on 28 January 2016 as part of a package of government support measures for the oil and gas industry.
  • It opened on 7 March 2016. The deadline for Phase 1 feasibility studies was 1 April. The deadline for Phase 2 project plans was 24 June. Phase 3 (final stage) successful applicants were notified 14 July.
  • Under the terms of the competition, the intellectual property of all work produced by the competition applicants is retained by the OGA. Following the award of licences for the 29th Offshore Licensing Round, participants are permitted to sell/distribute their products as they wish.
  • The 2015 UK Government funded seismic acquisition programme acquired 8,896km of full-fold seismic in the Rockall Trough area, 10,849 km of full-fold seismic acquired in Mid-North Sea High which was published under the Open Government Licence on 31st March 2016.
  • Data is available to download via Common Data Access (CDA)
  • Common Data Access (CDA) is an operating subsidiary of Oil & Gas UK, set up in 1995 to provide cost-effective data management services to its members and to the UK oil industry in general.
  • The 29th Offshore Licensing Round opened on 27th July and closes for applications at 14:00 on the 26th October 2016.
  • 1261 blocks are on offer in all. A full list of the blocks on offer can be viewed on the licensing rounds page
  • The 2016 seismic programme will focus on South West Britain and the East Shetland Platform. Contracts were awarded to WesternGeco and PGS respectively and acquisition is meant to complete in Q4 2016.
  • It is expected these areas will be made available for licensing in the 31st Frontier Licensing Round.
  • The OGA recently awarded four contracts for surface and subsurface studies to improve geotechnical understanding

For more information please contact:

Leona Minellas
Press and Media Advisor
Oil & Gas Authority
Tel: +44 (0) 300 020 1072