Updated: New details of oil and gas licence commitments, extensions and relinquishments


Source: UK Onshore Geophysical Library

Oil and gas companies have given up 14 UK onshore exploration licences, according to information released by the government today.

In 17 licence areas, the government has allowed companies more time to carry out exploration. And in another 16 there are new agreements to drill, frack or carry out seismic surveys. Five companies have agreed to give back part of their acreage (or updated maps go to section headed Partial relinquishments.

The areas are in nearly 50 Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences (PEDLs), mostly issued in 2008, that came to the end of their initial term yesterday.

To find out about your area, go to Regional Details at the end of this post.

Relinquished licences

The data, released  by the Oil and Gas Authority, revealed that eight of the licences handed back to the government were held by IGas or its subsidiaries. Celtique Energie and Coastal Oil and Gas handed back two each and Egdon and Hutton both gave up one.

Four of the PEDLs were in the East Midlands, three in North West England, three in the Weald, two in Yorkshire and two in South Wales.

Under the agreement with the government, companies that had not completed the agreed work programme, which usually included drilling a well, would have been expected to hand back the licence. But wells were drilled during the licence period in four of the relinquished PEDLs.

Analysis by DrillOrDrop has shown that wells were not drilled in 18 PEDLs that have not been returned.

The relinquished licences include the IGas PEDL 187 covering the site at Borras near Wrexham. Coastal Oil & Gas has given up PEDL 219 which has sites at Dyffryn and Llantrithyd in the Vale of Glamorgan, and PEDL 220, which had a site at Llantrisant in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Full list of relinquished PEDLs: 173, 174, 178, 179, 185, 186, 187, 207, 208, 219, 220, 231, 237, 243.

New drilling, fracking and seismic commitments

According to the data, operators of 16 PEDLs have moved onto the second term of their licence with new commitments to drill, frack or survey.

Of these PEDLs, operators must drill a total of 15 wells, two of which will also be fracked.

The fracked wells are in:

  • PEDL 165 in Lancashire held by Cuadrilla, which includes the proposed fracking sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood
  • PEDL 193 around Salford, which includes the shale gas well at Barton Moss (Irlam). This licence is operated by IGas but the government data assigns the commitment to INEOS.

Commitments for new wells include:

  • Balcombe (244): Cuadrilla is required to flow test the Balcombe 2z well by 30 June 2019 and drill one well by 30 June 2021.
  • East Yorkshire (PEDL 183): Rathlin is required to drill a well to 2000m and test it by 30 June 2018
  • Cheshire: IGas is required drill new wells in PEDLs 184, 188 and 190
  • Bassetlaw: IGas is required to drill one well by 31 December 2017and a horizontal well by June 2021 in PEDL 200, which includes the proposed Tinker Lane site.
  • Horse Hill Developments Ltd (HHDL), which operates the Horse Hill site near Gatwick in PEDL 137 is required to drill a side track to the well to keep its adjoining licence, PEDL 246.

PEDLs where wells must be drilled: 165, 183, 184, 188, 190, 191, 193, 200, 201, 202, 209, 210, 244, 246

PEDLs where seismic testing must be carried out: 165, 184, 188, 193, 200, 210 (all IGas), 183, 246 .

Licence extensions

The data shows that the government has extended the initial terms of 15 PEDLs and the second term of another. Europa announced last month that its PEDL 143 had also been extended, although this wasn’t on the list issued today.

For many of the licences, this will be second time the initial term has been extended.

Among the extensions, 13 PEDLs had their initial terms increased for two years. They include:

  • PEDL 234, sold by Celtique Energie and Magellan Petroleum to UK Oil & Gas Investments on condition that the licence was extended
  • PEDL 164 in west Lancashire and Sefton, where Aurora is preparing to carry out seismic testing.
  • Four licences held by companies run by Gerwyn Williams in South Wales, along with three by IGas.

Three PEDLs have had their first term extended for one year. No wells have been drilled during the licence period so far in any of these PEDLs.

Initial term extensions for one year:  224, 241, 253

Initial term extensions for two years: 143 (not included on the government list), 162, 164, 189, 204, 214,  215, 216, 217, 233, 234, 235, 254.

The second term of PEDL 163, held by IGas in central Scotland, has been extended for two years.

Partial relinquishments

Under the licence agreements, operators have been required to relinquish part of the PEDL at the end of the initial term. Campaigners have told DrillOrDrop they expected this to amount to 50%, following conversations with the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

But last month, we reported that the government had agreed to change what it called the “model terms” of some licences. This meant that operators could decide which areas they wanted to return and did not need to hand back 50% of the area.

Today’s data shows that operators of eight PEDLs have relinquished area. However of these, six have had extensions to their initial terms, rather than continuing to a second term. Of the PEDLs that have continued to a second term, only two have partially relinquished licence area.

The PEDLs which have given up parts of their acreage are:

  • 165, operated by Cuadrilla in the Fylde, which includes the proposed sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood
  • 183 operated by Rathlin Energy in East Yorkshire, which has drilled at Crawberry Hill and West Newton
  • 204, operated by Hutton Energy in Nottinghamshire
  • 214, 215, 216 and 217, operated by Coastal Oil and Gas and UK Methane in South Wales
  • PEDL 224, in South Wales, operated by Sonorex

The proportion of acreage returned varies from about 70% in PEDL 204 to about 6% in PEDL 165.

The OGA has updated parts of its interactive active map to show the new acreage of PEDLs 165 and 183. We’ll add before and after maps for the other licences when these sections area also updated.

PEDL 165 before and after

PEDL 165 before partial relinquishment (left) and after (right)

PEDL 183 before and after

PEDL 183 before (left) and after (right)

For larger version of the new PEDL areas go to the OGA interactive map

Reasons for decisions

DrillOrDrop asked the OGA for details about why some initial terms had been extended and why the size of the relinquished areas varied. A spokesperson said today:

“Regarding the reasons behind specific relinquishments and amended terms for listed PEDLs, we don’t publish the individual reasons for each.”


OGA interactive map

UK Onshore Geophysical Library

OGA spreadsheet (Excel) of PEDL licence changes 30_June_2016_licence_changesv1.1

OGA webpage with links to licence information

Details by region

East Midlands

PEDL 173, Dart Energy (East England) Ltd, Althorpe, North Lincolnshire
Licence ended

PEDL 178, Dart Energy (East England) Ltd, Luddington, North Lincolnshire
Licence ended

PEDL 181, Europa Oil and Gas, Kiln Lane, N and NE Lincolnshire and West Lindsey
No change

PEDL 201, Egdon Resources, Burton on the Wold, Rushcliffe/Melton/Charnwood
Submit a planning application for a well by 31 June 2019 and drill a well by 30 June 2021

PEDL 204, Hutton Energy, Rushcliffe/Melton
2-year extension to initial term and partial relinquishment of 70km2

PEDL 207, Dart Energy (East England) Ltd, Bassetlaw
Licence ended

PEDL 208, Hutton Energy, South Kesteven and Melton
Licence ended

PEDL 209, Egdon Resources, Laughton, West Lindsey
Integrate the results of Laughton 1 well by 30 June 2017, submit planning application for a well by 31 December 2019 and drill a well by 30 June 2021

PEDL 210, Dart Energy (East England) Ltd, Broxholme, West Lindsey/Lincoln/North Kesteven
Acquire new seismic data by 31 December 2018, submit planning application to drill a well by 31 December 2020 and drill a well by 30 June 2021

PEDL 241, Egdon Resources, West Lindsey and North Lincolnshire
1-year extension to initial term

PEDL 253, Egdon Resources, East Lindsey
1-year extension to initial term

PEDL 254, Hutton Energy, Rushcliffe
2-year extension to initial term

North West England

PEDL164, Aurora Exploration (UK) Ltd, Formby, West Lancashire
2—year extension to initial term

PEDL 165, Cuadrilla Bowland Ltd, Fylde area of Lancashire (includes proposed sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood
Retention Area 1-North – collect outcrop data and interpret existing 2D seismic data by January 2018, to acquire gravity and/or magnetic geophysical data by 30 June 2019 and to apply for planning permission to drill a well by 30 June 2021.
Retention Area 2-Central – drill and hydraulically fracture a horizontal well by 30 June 2019 and to submit a Field Development Plan by 30 June 2021.
Retention Area 3-South – acquire gravity and/or magnetic geophysical data by 30 June 2019 and to apply for planning permission to drill a well by 30 June 2021.
Partial relinquishment of 63 km2

PEDL184, IGas, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
Reprocess regional geomagnetic data by 30 June 2017, sample and reinterpret Namurian shale from Gronant borehole by 30 March 2018, acquire new seismic data by 30 June 2019 and drill a well by 30 June 2021

PEDL185, Dart Energy (West England) Ltd. Cheshire West and Chester, Shropshire, Wrexham
Licence ended

PEDL186, GP Energy Ltd, Wrexham
Licence ended

PEDL187, GP Energy Ltd, Wrexham, Flintshire, Cheshire West and Chester
Licence ended

PEDL188, Dart Energy (West England) Ltd, Castletown and Churton, Cheshire West and Chester
Acquire new 2D seismic data by 30 June 2020 and drill a well by 30 June 2021

PEDL189, Dart Energy (West England) Ltd, Cheshire West and Chester
2-year extension to initial term

PEDL190, IGas, Ince Marshes, Cheshire West and Chester
Reprocess of regional Geomagnetic data by 30 June 2017 and drill a well by 30 June 2019

PEDL191, Egdon Resources, Cronton, Liverpool, Knowsley, Halton
Integrate reprocessed 2D data and regional geochemical analysis of offset well by 31 December 2017, submit planning application for a well by 31 December 2019 and drill a well by 30 June 2021

PEDL193, IGas, Barton Moss (Irlam), Warrington, Salford, Trafford, Wigan
Acquire new seismic data by 30 June 2018, submit planning application to drill a well by 30 June 2020, and drill, hydraulically fracture and flow test a well by 30 June 2021


PEDL 169, IGas/Alkane, Markham, Doncaster/South Yorkshire
Complete new seismic acquisition by 30 June 2019, submit planning permission to drill a well by 30 June 2021/Markham Main Coal Mine Vent Field

PEDL 174, Dart Energy (East England) Ltd, Swinefleet and Ealand, Doncaster/North Lincolnshire/East Riding of Yorkshire
Licence ended

PEDL 179, Dart Energy (East England) Ltd, Newport, North Lincolnshire/East Riding of Yorkshire
Licence ended

PEDL 183, Rathlin Energy, Crawberry Hill and West Newton, East Riding of Yorkshire
Two retention areas – RA1 – drill a well to 2000m and test by 30 June 2018 and to complete geotechnical studies by 30 June 2019, RA2 – acquire and interpret 15km2 new 3D seismic data by 30 June 2018 and to complete geotechnical studies by 30 June 2019. Partial relinquishment of 263km2.

PEDL 200, Dart Energy (East England) Ltd, Lound, Basssetlaw/Rotherham
Drill one well by 31 December 2017, acquire new seismic data by 31 December 2019 and drill a horizontal well by June 2021


PEDL 126, UKOG, Markwells Wood, West Sussex
Submit a Field Development Plan for the Markwells Wood 1 discovery by 30 June 2017

PEDL 143, Europa, Bury Hill Wood and Leith Hill, Surrey
The company says it’s had a 2-year extension to the initial term

PEDL 231, Celtique Energie, Fernhurst and Horsham/Crawley in West Sussex
Licence ended

PEDL 233, IGas, Graffham, Duncton, Upwaltham, West Sussex
2-year extension to initial term

PEDL 234, UKOG (formerly Celtique Energie), Broadford Bridge, West Sussex
2-year extension to initial term

PEDL 235, IGas, Haslemere, Surrey/West Sussex
2-year extension to second term

PEDL 237, Egdon Resource, Dorset
Licence ended

PEDL 243, Celtique Energie, West Sussex
Licence ended

PEDL 244, Cuadrilla Balcombe, Balcombe, West Sussex
Flow test the Balcombe 2z well by 30 June 2019 and drill one well by 30 June 2021

PEDL 246, Horse Hill Developments Ltd, Horse Hill, Surrey
Acquire new 3D seismic by 30 June 2017, drill Horse Hill 1 sidetrack by 30 September 2017


PEDL 162, INEOS, central Scotland
2-year extension to initial term

PEDL 163, IGas, central Scotland
2-year extension to second term


PEDL 214, UK Methane Ltd, Swansea
2-year extension to initial term and partial relinquishment of 74 km2

PEDL 215, UK Methane Ltd, Neath Port Talbot
2-year extension to initial term and partial relinquishment of 60 km2

PEDL 216, Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd, Bridgend, Vale of Glamorgan
2-year extension to initial term and partial relinquishment of 22 km2

PEDL 217, Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd, Bridgend, Vale of Glamorgan
2-year extension to initial term and partial relinquishment of 41 km2

PEDL 219, Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd, Vale of Glamorgan
Licence ended

PEDL220, Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd, Rhondda Cynon Taf
Licence ended

PEDL224, Sonorex Oil and Gas Ltd, Newport, Monmouthshire
1-year extension to initial term and partial relinquishment of 39 km2

Updated 5/7/2016 with maps of PEDL 165 and 189 

Updated 7/7/2016 to reflect changes in OGA information on extension to PEDL234. The original OGA spreadsheet issued on 1/7/2016 said PEDL234 was being extended for 1 year. Version 1.1 of the spreadsheet, downloaded on 7/7/2016 said it was being extended for 2 years. The spreadsheet attached to the post has been replaced with the latest version.


40 replies »

    • Can’t wait to read your report on Cuadrilla’s successful application Ruth.

      Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long after 4 July huh?

      • Licences issued in 2008 and first applications to frack in 2010. You have been waiting a long time.Getting excited 8 years ago and seeing nothing positive happening in all that time must be frustrating. Any small support for the Industry is rapidly declining. You obviously support the over riding of the voice of the majority and the voice of those democratically chosen to make decisions on local and County matters. Those who support this idea are few and clearly in the minority evidenced by the overall response to the fracking debate.

        • Where’s the link to the WHO report?
          How you can imagine this is a serious article when it states :
          This is important because low-income families pay a much larger percentage of their income on energy costs, meaning that they have to work more hours and spend less time with their kids when energy prices rise.
          Worth remembering the US has not slowed it’s coal production. It now exports coal. Therefore fracking has only added to the fossil fuels extracted. Not replaced.
          When do you suppose you will listen to the majority?
          After all these years you have to be an a grade fool to think fracking is the answer. Like the Govt invasion of Iraq – no plan B.
          Like Brexit – no plan B.
          Like Fracking – no plan B.
          What do you suppose is the plan if it is discovered fracking is not viable?
          From the article above many communities will have the threat of fracking hanging over there heads for years to come. The worry and stress is unacceptable.

          • According to the US government, fracking is responsible for a decrease in air pollution in the US. Get used to it, this is a fact.

            As for plan B. Domestic gas is plan A, and foreign shale gas appears to be plan B. We are much better off if plan A works as it will create less GHG emissions. These are practical plans. Tell us, denielsjulie, what is your plan A and B? How much pixie dust do you need to snort to find your plan practical?

            • “The current evidence base suggests that well regulated domestic production could have an emissions footprint slightly smaller than that of i
              mported liquefied natural gas (LNG) ” – Guess which report that came from? Note the use of the word “slightly” not the word “much” Mr Share Pumper 🙂

                • Not at all – I just think your use of the phrase “much” was very misleading given the CCC’s assertion that “well regulated domestic production could have an emissions footprint **slightly** smaller than that of imported liquefied natural gas (LNG)” -but then I’m not trying to persuade people to part with money am I? 😉

                • Well, John, here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia on the subject, “However, on the West Coast of the United States, where up to three new LNG importation terminals were proposed prior to the U.S. fracking boom, environmental groups, such as Pacific Environment, Ratepayers for Affordable Clean Energy (RACE), and Rising Tide had moved to oppose them.[91] They claimed that, while natural gas power plants emit approximately half the carbon dioxide of an equivalent coal power plant, the natural gas combustion required to produce and transport LNG to the plants adds 20 to 40 percent more carbon dioxide than burning natural gas alone.[92]”

                  So, perhaps the difference comes from the fact that the CCC study did not take into account emissions from transportation, but there is “much” higher emission levels involved in importing LNG. All the best, John.

                • Oh, really John. If you’re going to make an accusation, you better be able to back it up. So, give us all some facts. Who was I trying to sell and what was I trying to sell? Let’s have the facts shall we?

                • I didn’t say you were trying to sell anybody Peeny.

                  But you work on Wall Street and spend a lot of time backing fracking. Hmm let me think what you might be trying to sell…

  1. Time will tell John, time will tell, but certainly looking forward to what the future holds not the past.

    The future isn’t in the rear vision mirror, you should try hard not to keep looking in that mirror.

    • Not being able to complete works within lenient time frames must be serious concern for investors. The share values confirm that. Having to ask for 2 year extensions shows an Industry unable to deliver. Now they are asking for 2 year extensions to 2 extensions.
      I look forward using the evidence and facts to date as guidance. There has been nothing in the last 8 years positive for the Industry.
      Just technical failings and loss of public support. Not really sound building blocks to jump up and down on saying whoop! whoop!

    • What a silly thing to say as you appear to want to continue using the fuels of the past for energy.
      Is that really the best we have to look forward to? Industrialisation of our rural countryside? You are living in the past and how you can even post here in comments knowing what most people think of you and your opinions…… astounding the levels some people will go.

  2. 2 posts John Powney and repeating yourself in both.


    Fracking is coming very soon now, you can cite negativity of the past all you like, its only people like you and the editor of this site that refuse to move forward, but when Cuadrilla win their appeal and their right to carry out exploration without interference from archaic local government barriers, and the inconvenience associated with the protest movements, then this industry will flourish into an industry of national significance.

    • Michael – would you kindly explain why you regard the Lancashire county council development control committee as “archaic”, and the why you assume that the “inconvenience associated with the protest movements” would stop if the SoS allows Cuadrilla’s appeal? I imagine if anything such a move would crystallise and ntensify local opposition

  3. The delays in shale exploration are due to the low oil and gas prices worldwide causing very significant reductions in capital expenditure across the world (except Saudi Arabia), plus of course the destructive campaigns by activists which are presumably aimed at producing an electricity generation crisis on a cold, still night in winter when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. This will be handled by “demand side management” that is paying industry not to produce (you couldn’t make it up) between the hours of 4 and 8pm so as to avoid blackouts or reduced voltage for ordinary consumers.

    On the gas supply front, North Sea supplies and imports by pipeline, especially from the Netherlands are declining, leaving the 85% of the country using gas for heating increasingly dependent on LNG from countries such as World Cup location, Qatar. Luckily as time goes on LNG exports from the USA (almost totally derived from shale production) will increase to fill the demand gap. The price of natural gas on the world market has risen sharply recently, partly in anticipation of these changes. From the point of view of CO2 emissions, imported LNG has a higher carbon footprint than locally produced gas.

    • UK Natural Gas trading at 34p a therm Mark – risen sharply? It’s the same price it was in January 2016. (i.e. about half the estimated cost of extraction by fracking here in the UK)

      • John, I did actually say the world market. This from the US EIA. ” Natural gas spot prices rose across most of the country this report week (Wednesday, June 22, to Wednesday, June 29). The Henry Hub spot price continued its upward climb, rising by 15¢ from $2.78 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) last Wednesday to $2.93/MMBtu yesterday.”. See also the disparity in prices between the UK and the USA, I hope that means less of the US population are in fuel poverty.

        Note also the concerns about the Rough gas storage facility which is operating wll below capacity, adding more vulnerability to the UK energy system with winter approaching..too late to do anything about it at a national level I guess.

        I’m pleased to see there are plans to extend the pumped hydro stations in the Highlands; originally built to pair up with nuclear stations which have relatively inflexible output. I’m sure the green lobby will agree, even if does involve the “industrialisation of the landscape”.

  4. This link shows a shot of Oklahoma and turning across the globe, the same view but with the UK, the centre area being around Newcastle Upon Tyne.

    Prior to 2009, Oklahoma would be as clear as the picture of the UK. What your seing here is a historical shot of all the quakes that occured there after they took to fracking.

    Is this the future we really want anywhere in Britain?

  5. Ruth – I think you need to rename this site

    The public see the licences and assume WYSIWYG – then they change a specific signed licence by changing the “model terms”? How does THAT work. If I sign a licence agreement that is the agreement in law – model terms for a future licence are irrelevant. Sure it may be modifiable by mutual agreement, but what of the stakeholders here – the public, who were not consulted at all over this.

    Is it any wonder people (apart from our gung-ho, invested friends above) are concerned about the way this industry is regulated if even the licences are subject to retrospective amendment without warning? Sadly, it seems we can’t trust Oil and Gas Authority to look after the public’s interests.

    • What lies ahead is years and years of uncertainty.
      I hope there’s a general election soon then just maybe we can put all this fracking nightmare to bed for good.

  6. Indeed John, you don’t always get what you see. Oaklahoma didn’t see anything like us. Blackpool – One tremor of magnitude 2.3 hit the Fylde coast on 1 April, followed by a second of magnitude 1.4 on 27 May.

    If all their initial quakes were one and under, our scale was so completely different. If we start with tremors of 1.4 to 2.3, where will we be after a few years … 4 – 5?

    Profit is all that counts for these people, so we that countered with caution on the appropriate scale.

  7. Of that I have no doubt Paul … I did use the USGS earthquake data site to pull my data for that image. So why is the one thing lacking in your statement … the information on how many quakes a year occured prior to 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and especially the year they started fracking – 2009.

    Lack of information is what misleads most people.

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