N. Sea oil and gas to run dry in 10 years’ time – new forecast from Scottish university energy expert

The Scottish and English oil industries  in the North Sea are entering their final decade of production, according to new research from Edinburgh University.

Its study of output from offshore fields estimates that almost 10% of the North Sea’s original recoverable oil and gas remains – about 11 per cent of oil and nine per cent of gas resources.

If the study’s predictions are correct, the UK will soon have to import all the oil and gas it needs, researchers warn.

Instead, they recommend a move towards greater use of renewable energy sources, particularly offshore wind and advanced solar energy technologies.

It is strongly urged that the Brit-Govtt’s ongoing energy cost report – the Helm Review – should take stock of the projected shortfall in resource availability and how this might be addressed.

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh examined the UK’s likely potential for fracking and carried out a fresh analysis of the country’s oil and gas production.

Their findings take into account the long-term downward trends of oil and gas field size and lifespan, alongside the break-even costs for fracking. The study, in The Edinburgh Geologist, is published by the Edinburgh Geological Society.

Professor Roy Thompson, of Edinburgh University’s School of GeoSciences – who led the study – said: “Britain urgently needs a bold energy transition plan, instead of trusting to dwindling fossil fuel reserves and possible fracking.

“We must act now and drive the necessary shift to a clean economy with integration between energy systems. There needs to be greater emphasis on renewables, energy storage and improved insulation and energy efficiencies.”

Analysis of hydrocarbon reserves shows that discoveries have consistently lagged behind output since the point of peak oil recovery in the late 1990s. The research predicts that both oil and gas reserves will run out within a decade.

Tory MSP Alexander Burnett, the party’s Scottish energy spokesman, commented: “If this <report> turns out to be the case, it will be devastating for the north east economy.

“It’s now more essential than ever that both the Scottish and UK governments work together to maximise what’s left in the North Sea”.

20 Sept 2017

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