Kiran Stacey UK holds back offshore oil licences

A total of 144 new licences have been granted to explore oil and gas off the UK coast today. But the industry isn’t happy – 99 have been held back for further assessments on the likely ecological impact.

Oil & Gas UK said:

We note with concern that a further 99 blocks have been held back, awaiting the results of environmental assessments being carried out by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).  We would urge the government to conclude this process as quickly as possible to allow prospective licensees to move ahead swiftly with investment in new exploration activity.

Is this the first evidence that the BP spill is going to make governments across the world more wary before awarding such licences in future, even for other reasons than safety concerns?