January 28 - In the UK, a new round of offshore licensing aims to give a further boost to the country's offshore oil and gas industries and for the first time since 1998, also offers blocks in all areas of the UK seas for new licensing.

Heavy lift and project forwarding companies working in the offshore oil and gas industry could be among those to benefit from what the UK Government describes as a record-breaking 26th round including areas of the Continental Shelf not as yet explored, and will provide a new boost to activity in the basin.

The government also announced that the exploration of areas in the west of Scotland would also take place following the introduction of a new Frontier licence which will allow for the exploration of oil and gas resources for an extended nine year period.

The blocks offered include a number relinquished under the Government and industry's "Fallow Initiative", which stimulates activity on blocks where there had been no significant activity for three years.

Estimates suggest there are still around 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent, or possibly more, to be produced.