Record Investment Flowing into the North Sea as Oil Flows Again

Oil and gas engineering contractors and consultants roll up, roll up and hear the good news!

According to BBC News a consortium of oil companies is to invest more than £330m in an appraisal drilling programme which could lead to the development of a massive Atlantic field. The BP-led consortium said drilling had already started on the first of five wells planned over the next two years at Clair, West of Shetland.

Oonagh Werngren,Oil and Gas UK‘s Operations Director, said: “We welcome the news that BP is investing significantly in appraising the third phase of its Clair field to the west of Shetland. By applying the latest technologies, BP and its partners have, through continued investment over a number of years, unlocked significant potential that had previously lain unexplored. The Clair field is proving that there are exciting giant fields still to be explored on the UKCS.

There have been other announcements in recent months. The UK sanctioned $7bn investment by Statoil of Norway in the Mariner field which requires pioneering technology and will bring hundreds of high skilled, long-lasting oil and gas jobs across the country. It is expected to produce oil and gas for thirty years.

The change in North Sea Oil fortunes is partly due to the emergence of new technology that has helped extract reserves from sites that were in the past classed as uneconomic and are referred to as ‘awkward squad’ fields. According to a report in the FT, Malcolm Webb, Chief Executive of Oil and Gas UK Group,the capital investment in new fields will rise from £11.4bn last year to £13bn in 2013. There is a five fold increase in production on the average for the past three years resulting in 470 million barrels of oil and gas coming on stream.

The other influence has been the government’s series of tax allowances promoting the exploitation of small and technically challenging fields. A strategy document entitled ‘UK Oil & Gas – Business and Government action. You can access a copy here.

This industry provides a source of employment for over 400 thousand people across the UK.

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