Three billion barrels of oil in UK continental shelf offer “very significant opportunity"

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 19 October 2016 in News

Oil and Gas Authority research suggests “small pools” of oil are based in 350 unsanctioned discoveries across UK continental shelf

Oil rig - credit: Steven Straiton

Three billion barrels of oil underneath the UK continental shelf offer a “very significant opportunity", according to new research from Oil and Gas Authority (OGA).

The research suggests the “small pools” of oil are based in around 350 unsanctioned discoveries across the UK continental shelf.

But OGA said new technologies will be needed to extract some of the reserves.


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OGA head of technology Carlo Procaccini said: "We recognise the challenges operators are facing to develop these marginal oil and gas accumulations. Small pools represent a very significant opportunity to maximise economic recovery from the UK continental shelf.

"Technology has an important role to play to reduce the cost of development wells, design optimised subsea infrastructure to existing host facilities and develop efficient standalone concepts.”

The OGA estimates there are around 10 to 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent which remain recoverable from the UK continental shelf.

Dr Gordon Drummond, project director of The National Subsea Research Initiative, said the reserves have a “national importance” in terms of achieving maximise economic recovery of oil and gas reserves, adding: “they must be considered as an industry asset if they are to be capitalised upon”.

He said: “Following an extensive mapping exercise, we now know exactly where these small pools are located and what is required to unlock their potential. If the subsea industry can rise to the challenge of economically tapping into these pools, the North Sea could have a whole new lease of life.

“Technology is only part of the solution, the industry must be much more receptive to innovation – there must be a willingness to work more collaboratively on multi-field applications and on access to infrastructure.”

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