Leading oil expert predicts 99 new oil discoveries in next 30 years

SNP Energy Spokesperson, Fergus Ewing, has welcomed a new paper by one of the world’s leading oil economists – Professor Alex Kemp of the University of Aberdeen – where he sets out that his detailed modelling on North Sea oil and gas predicts 99 new oil discoveries over the next thirty years which will be commercially viable – as well as a further 57 which will be uneconomic by 2050 but which could become viable as a result of technological improvements and a higher oil price.

Professor Kemp also set out that other commercially viable developments include 147 already discovered fields not yet at the detailed planning stage and 25 fields currently being assessed for development.  He also predicted that oil prices will be “much higher” in the years ahead.

fergus ewing xWelcoming the predictions Fergus Ewing said:

“Professor Alex Kemp is one of the world’s leading oil economists, wrote the official history of North Sea oil and has detailed modelling on the future of Scotland’s oil and gas industry. His new predictions – based on that modelling – show a bright future for Scotland’s oil and gas sector for decades to come – with 99 new economic discoveries over the next three decades.

“Whilst the No campaign like to talk down Scotland’s oil wealth – despite enjoying the riches that flow from it into the London Treasury – this expert opinion makes clear that Scotland’s oil and gas story is far from over.

“Under the UK’s poor stewardship of North Sea oil and gas we have seen frequent changes to the tax regime, a lack of focus on value creation and mismanagement of revenues. These are all mistakes which cannot be allowed to continue for the decades of oil and gas recovery which remain ahead.

“In value terms half the wealth from Scotland’s oil remains and by grabbing the independence opportunity later this month we can put an end to poor UK stewardship of this vital resource.

“Scotland deserves better and only a Yes vote on September 18 will deliver the powers needed to get the maximum benefit from Scotland’s natural resources.”

In his new paper published today, Professor Kemp says:

“New commercially viable developments triggered over the period to 2050 include not only 25 fields currently being assessed for development, but 147 discovered fields not yet at the detailed planning stage, and 99 further discoveries resulting from new exploration over the period to 2045.

“At the year 2050 in our model there are also 58 new discoveries made between 2014 and 2045 which contain well over 1 bn boe but are uneconomic. Again, it can be expected that, with higher oil prices, some will become economic.

“But, even the most bearish commentators on the oil market would agree that by 2050 real oil prices are likely to be much higher, and thus more developments should be triggered by that time.”

Oil & Gas, the voice of the offshore industry said:

“Comments are timely reminders that there are significant hydrocarbons left in the UKCS – but these will not come for free.

Oil and Gas UK Logo“The challenge for both governments and industry alike is to ensure that we have a business environment which encourages the maximum economic recovery of the UKCS recognising that future opportunities are likely to be yet more expensive to develop and less attractive to investors.

“We would, however, urge caution about predicted future potential from the North Sea. For example last week’s N56 report on offshore unconventional gas made considerable predictions based on largely unproven and untested methods.

“Professor Kemp’s modelling identifies future recoverable reserves, but these will be more difficult and therefore even more expensive to produce.  Given the technical, pricing and cost uncertainties, any long term production and tax forecasts are inherently uncertain and should be treated as such given the broader commercial pressures on the oil and gas industry.”

Pictured is Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism



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