Gas could soon be drilled from off the coast at Robin Hood’s Bay after Egdon Resources obtained a four-year licence covering an area of up to 200 sq kilometres.
The firm said it could create jobs and help ease spikes in gas prices after being awarded the rights from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
Commenting on the licence award Mark Abbott, Managing Director of Egdon said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this 26th Round licence over these high potential blocks in one of our focus areas.
“We believe that our proposed approach of appraising and potentially developing this prospect via an onshore to offshore well could unlock the value in one of the earliest North Sea gas discoveries and we look forward to commencing our detailed technical evaluation.”
The site was drilled by Total in 1966 and was one of the earliest wells to discover hydrocarbons in the North Sea.
But the discovery was dropped because the gas flow rates were too slow for a commercial operation with 1960s technologies and extracting the gas would have required a costly platform to be built, which would have been unlikely to get permission off the Jurassic coastline.
Mr Abbott added if tests confirmed its estimate that the resource could hold up to 272 billion cubic feet of gas, he would seek consent late next year to drill a well from an onshore location to appraise the discovery.
He said it could create 30 jobs at the site and could lead to further associated jobs in the area.
He added it would not involve controversial techniques such as fracking to release the gas.