At the end of July 2014, the UK government published application criteria and terms for the 14th onshore oil and gas licensing round. This will be key to the aspirations of would-be shale gas developers in the UK. Onshore licences are available in areas including the Bowland Shale in the north of England (where the British Geological Society estimates a potential gas-in-place resource of 1,329 trillion cubic feet (tcf) alone) and the Midland Valley in Scotland.
Applications for new licences under the 14th round can be made until 2:00 p.m. 28 October 2014. This is the first round of onshore licensing in the UK for six years, and the resultant final licence awards are expected to be announced in the next 12 to 18 months. The level of interest expressed in these new licences will be a good barometer of how the industry regards the steps which the UK government has been taking to promote the growth of shale gas in the UK.