Following the U.K.'s recent initiative to accelerate shale gas projects in the country, the government has announced plans to give 27 oil and gas exploration licenses in England, on Tuesday.
The Oil and Gas Authority of the U.K. announced on Tuesday that 27 onshore blocks will be formally offered to companies.
Successful companies, with the necessary financial, technical and environmental competencies, will be given licenses to explore onshore oil and gas, opening the doors to the possibility of fracking across England, according to the press release.
A second group of 132 blocks will be offered to companies and announced later in the year, provided they pass a detailed environmental regulatory assessment.
Licenses for all offered blocks will be granted once the terms and conditions are met and finalized.
The blocks were determined as part of the fourteenth onshore oil and gas licensing round.
"The U.K. government has decided that no new Petroleum Exploration and Development Licenses will be awarded in Scotland or Wales including as part of the 14th round," the press release said.
As part of the country's long-term plan to "build a more resilient economy, create jobs and deliver secure energy supplies" the government continues to support the onshore oil and gas industry and the safe development of shale gas in the U.K., Energy Minister Lord Bourne said.
With this in mind, the Oil and Gas Authority "moved quickly to confirm the winners of license blocks which do not need further environmental assessment," Bourne added.
In a bid to accelerate shale gas deployment, the U.K. government released new measures on Aug. 13, to help significantly cut waiting periods for shale projects while allowing for intervention in applications if necessary.
“Investment in shale could reach £33 billion ($51.7 billion) and support 64,000 jobs creating financial security for hardworking people and their families, whilst providing a cost-efficient bridge to lower-carbon energy use,” he argued.
By Zeynep Beyza Karabay