Bureaucracy played an important part in delaying the opening of offshore to exploration. After nine years of deliberation, the United Nations finally adopted in 1958 the Geneva Convention on the Continental Shelf areas of the North Sea and other northwestern European waters. However, the convention provided that it would only come into effect upon ratification by 22 countries. The U.K. was the 22nd country to ratify, and the date was 11 May 1964. There could be no concessions granted in the North Sea outside territorial waters until after this date.
In 1964, U.K. Licensing Round 1 was opened and Conoco made applications for several areas aimed at structures that we had previously mapped in the Rotliegendes trend as a result of participating in several early seismic speculative shoots. Acreage was awarded to the company on 17 September 1964.
In 1968 two gas discoveries of commercial significance were drilled by the company in the South Viking area. Improved interpretations led to further drilling in 1969 and resulted in the North Viking gas field being discovered. This was followed in 1970 by three additional gas discoveries in the Viking area.