North Sea oil and gas licensing round 'strong'
The oil and gas industry has responded "strongly" to the latest offshore licensing round.
It was focused on under-explored areas of the UK continental shelf (UKCS) - the first so-called Frontier licensing round in more than 20 years.
The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) said 29 applications had been received from 24 companies.
OGA chief executive Andy Samuel said: "Despite the difficult climate, industry has responded strongly."
He explained: "This confirms the high remaining potential in the UKCS frontier areas.
"Long-standing investors continue to seek new acreage and we also welcome the arrival of new entrants."
The upcoming round will cover mature areas of the UKCS.