OGA to invest £5m in new surveys to hunt for more North Sea ‘frontier’ oil

The Brit-Govt government has provided additional £5 million to survey under-explored parts of the North Sea to find potential new oil and gas deposits in 2018-19.

The Aberdeen-based Oil and Gas Authority intends to give a range of high quality new data to the industry through the surveys, which is expected to help address exploration risks and uncertainties.

At the same time, it is hoped that the new data will encourage oil companies to take up activities in frontier and under-explored areas.

Announcing the new funding, Brit-Govt. Finance Minister Phil Hammond, MP, said its work with industry on new subsea technologies has the potential of unlocking an additional 400 million barrels of oil and gas from the North Sea. Overall, the efforts are to yield an additional value of £3bn to the industry, stated the government.

He added: “The oil and gas industry remains vital for the Scottish economy and the UK as a whole. The £5 million funding I am announcing will help exploration to find potential new deposits, and boost prospects for jobs in Aberdeen and the surrounding area.

“This continues the UK government’s extensive package of tax and funding support for the industry and the wider Scottish economy.”

Andy Samuel, OGA Chief Executive, commented: “There has been tremendous progress over the past two years despite the low oil price environment.

“We have seen how targeted intervention can have a disproportionately positive effect – for example the first round of seismic funding for the OGA opened up frontier areas for the 29th Offshore Licensing Round, where we awarded 25 licences to 17 companies.”

But the SNP dismissed the new funding as a ‘drop in the ocean’.

The party’s Westminster energy spokesman Drew Hendry, MP, said that while the investment was welcome, “this is a very small step to take”, and accused to the UK Government of leaving questions unanswered regarding the effect of Brexit upon the energy sector.

He added: “They [the UK Government] need to urgently address the key concerns that are raised by the industry.

“To put it into perspective, the UK Treasury has benefitted to the tune of £300 billion from tax revenues over the years and, in spite of repeated calls from the sector, they are still failing to address the status of late life assets, the tax regime and the growing concerns over the withdrawal from the common market and customs union for operations and staffing, all of which need urgent answers.”

Meanwhile, offshore services provider Petrofac has landed a two-year training contract from Maersk Oil in relation to the North Sea High Pressure High Temperature development at Culzean.

28 Sept 2017

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