N. Sea to make ‘significant contribution’ for another 40 years – says ‘Professor Oil’


Professor Alex Kemp, University of Aberdeen
Professor Alex Kemp, University of Aberdeen

SNP Energy spokesman Fergus Ewing has welcomed comments made by one of the world’s leading oil academics, Professor Alex Kemp of the University of Aberdeen, that the oil and gas industry will “contribute significantly to the national economy” well beyond 2050.

Professor Kemp also said that “it can confidently be predicted” that technological advances “will result in rates of oil recovery higher than the present average” and also highlighted that previous forecasts of declining oil production were later proved wrong because technological advances, and favourable taxation rules, encouraged new developments and thus “reversed the decline in a fairly spectacular manner”.  

He also comments that technological advance may lead to the re-opening of decommissioned fields, such as Miller, and highlights Oil and Gas UK’s estimate that remaining reserves are between 15-24 billion barrels of oil.

Responding to Professor Kemp’s comments, 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. I thus warmly welcome his prediction that Scotland’s oil and gas industry will make a significant contribution well beyond 2050.  

“It’s also particularly interesting to note his views on the impact of technological advances on Scotland’s oil and gas sector and his prediction than oil recovery rates will improve and that more fields may  be reopened as technology improves further. Especially as he highlights the Miller field – where there is the reported potential for a further 40 million barrels.

“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.

* Meanwhile, Dick Winchester – who has decades of experience in the energy industry and sits on the Scottish Energy Advisory Board – has condemned the “strategic short sightedness” and mismanagement of Scotland’s energy resources from successive Westminster governments – which he says Scotland “can no longer afford”. Winchester is managing director of Pipistrelle Ltd.

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