UK Govt. launches campaign to drive new exploration in the N. Sea: ‘It’s a mature basin – but with frontier opportunities’

ECITB oil rig general

EXCLUSIVE by Scottish Energy News

The UK Government has launched a new campaign to attract new investors into the North Sea and to dispel the clouds of gloom currently hanging over the oil and gas sector.

Its Aberdeen-based industry regulator, the  Oil and Gas Authority, is promoting the North Sea as: ‘A mature basin – but with frontier opportunities’.

In one of a series of ‘road-shows’ to the industry, Tom Wheeler, Head of Commercial, said the OGA is adopting a flexible licensing regime to encourage entry into the industry.

He said: “We need to create the right conditions to revitalise exploration and unlock investment in the UKCS to get Maximum Economic Recovery.

“To date, 43bn boe has been recovered from UKCS to date – but there’s still nearly half as much again – up to 20bn boe – remaining.

“More than 300 discoveries with 4bn boe potential have been made, with up to 9bn boe yet to find in mature areas,

“Both new and existing investors are critical to the MER project –  while we also need to encourage a collaborative culture across industry”

Even in the ‘funeral side’ of the industry – plugging and abandoning wells – OGA estimates there to be nearly £50 billion worth of revenue to be tapped between now and 2050.

Meanwhile, a two-year crisis in Norway’s oil industry may be ending and more companies are now willing to invest, according to  the head of the agency overseeing the country’s oil and gas resources.

The sector, which accounts for 20% of the Nordic country’s economy, has been slashing jobs, costs and projects to cope with a 60 percent fall in oil prices since June 2014.

But the worst of the belt-tightening may be over and the industry could be turning a corner, the head of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, Bente Nyland. In an interview with Reuters, she said:“We are seeing that things are becoming better,” citing her talks with oil companies and an increased willingness to complete development plans.

Two development plans have been submitted so far in 2016, in this case by Statoil, and at least three more are expected before the year-end, she said. In January, the directorate had not been able to provide such an estimate.

The three expected are decisions on two fields in the Norwegian Sea – Statoil’s Trestakk field and DEA’s Dvalin gas discovery, formerly known as Zidane – and Centrica’s Butch field in the North Sea.

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