We need to stop N. Sea companies walking away from wells with more than 50% of oil still in the ground, says OGA

An extra 900 million barrels oil could be recovered from the North Sea by increasing the overall percentage of oil recovered from of a selection of large fields, according to the regulator.

The recovery factor is the overall proportion of oil expected to be extracted from an oil field.

The current forecast recovery factor of the North Sea is around 43 per cent, which means that over half of the oil that has been discovered is simply abandoned.

The expected recovery factor from N. Sea oil fields has not changed significantly over time, whilst the quality of fields being developed has decreased.

The decrease in field quality has been offset by improved development, shown by the improvement to average field volume gap over time.

As a result, the OGA has developed a recovery factor benchmark to assist with the KPI of “improving recovery factor by 2020” and will use the benchmarking tool with Industry to identify and quantify opportunities where increasing recovery factor leads to increased value, in line with Maximising Economic Recovery.

The expected recovery factor from N. Sea oil fields has not changed significantly over time, whilst the quality of fields being developed has decreased.

The expected recovery factor (in light blue) from N. Sea oil fields has not changed significantly since  2004. However, whilst the quality of fields being developed has decreased, actual production (in purple) has increased.

By looking at the potential of a number of prioritised fields, the OGA estimates that an additional 900 million barrels of oil could be produced through increases to RF as a result of improved asset stewardship.

The OGA’s new Recovery Factor Benchmarking report, published today, estimates the current expected recovery factor for UKCS oil fields and highlights the ongoing work the OGA is undertaking with industry to identify how economic recovery can be increased.

Andy Samuel, OGA Chief Executive said: “Our new benchmarking report further underlines the significant prize remaining across the UKCS, in this case across a number of producing fields.

“We will be sharing our results with operators to highlight and quantify opportunities where increasing recovery factor should lead to increased value in line with MER UK. These data help us understand RF performance across the basin, prioritise our asset stewardship reviews with operators and identify new opportunities for improvement and sharing good practices.”

Dave Lynch, BP vice-president, reservoir development, said: “The recovery factor benchmarking analysis produced by the OGA will be of huge value to highlight and develop the potential in existing, producing fields. We will be using this benchmarking work within BP to maximise economic recovery from our assets.”

7 Sept 2017

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