Giant Buzzard and Golden Eagle help lift N. Sea output by 10% this year

N Sea oil and gas production 2014-2015. Source DECC
N Sea oil and gas production 2014-2015. The solid blue line represents output and  clearly shows the 37-year low in 3Q2014. Source DECC

Oil and gas output from the North Sea has risen by more than 10% in 2015 compared to last year – even though production in the third quarter of 2014 was the lowest in 37 years.

New data published by the Dept for Energy (DECC) shows that UK indigenous production of crude and natural gas liquids (NGL) reached the lowest level in Q3 2014 than in any other quarter since 1977 – but has since stabilised.

Production in the year-to-date (2015) is up 10.9% on last year, while UK crude oil output was 29% higher in Q3 of 2015 compared with Q3 2014.

Crude oil production in August 2014 was particularly low – largely because of planned maintenance at Buzzard, Britain’s biggest oil field – but also due to the Golden Eagle field coming online within the last 12 months.

Imports of crude oil and NGL’s decreased by 5.6% compared with the same quarter a year earlier as domestic UK production accounted for a larger share of refinery demand. Net imports of primary oils (crude, NGLs and feedstocks) fell to 5.5 million tonnes in Q3 2015.

Nexen's Golden Eagle field, 40 miles east of Aberdeen
Nexen’s Golden Eagle field, 40 miles east of Aberdeen

Offshore, there were eight exploration and appraisal wells started in the third quarter of 2015 – the same number as in the corresponding quarter of 2014.

There were 42 development wells drilled offshore in the third quarter of 2015, compared to 33 in the corresponding quarter of 2014.

Onshore, there were no exploration and appraisal wells started in the third quarter of 2015, compared to two in the corresponding quarter of 2014.

There was one development well drilled onshore in the third quarter of 2015, compared to four in the corresponding quarter of 2014.

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