Those industry analysts who have predicted a rapid, irreversible decline in North Sea oil and gas activity might have to reassess their position in light of the 27th UK Licensing Round. The Department of Energy and Climate Change placed a record 167 new licences up for grabs. Specialist operators such as Trap Oil (TRAP) and Ithaca Energy (IAE) were always likely to extend their offshore interests, but renewed interest from industry heavyweights such asRoyal Dutch Shell(RDSB) and ExxonMobil suggest that the region's full potential is far from exhausted - or perhaps not even fully appreciated.
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