UK DETAILS PLANS TO OFFER N. SEA BLOCKS

UK DETAILS PLANS TO OFFER N. SEA BLOCKS

Britain's Department of Energy announced details Thursday of the next round of offshore oil licenses to be offered for exploration in the British North Sea.

Energy Secretary Cecil Parkinson said he expected a 50 percent increase in applications for the eleventh offshore licensing round because of the widespread belief that there are still good production prospects for the North Sea.The blocks being offered are in most parts of the U.K. Continental Shelf, although the majority are off the coast of Scotland.

Mr. Parkinson said they represent a range of mature and frontier blocks.

Oil production in Britain was about 860 million barrels last year, 3.1 percent less than in 1986.

Latest figures produced by the Royal Bank of Scotland PLC show that in February, offshore oil production was 2.55 million barrels a day, 0.8 percent down on a year earlier.