A joint find between Oil Companies BP and GDF Suez could produce around 50 million barrels of oil for the UK after exploratory drilling in the United Kingdom’s Central North Sea. The find has been flow-tested at a maximum rate of 5,350 barrels per day which, although small by historical standards, is a significant find and was described as “encouraging” by GDF Suez E&P UK managing director Ruud Zoon.
Going on to further describe his company’s latest discovery, Mr Zoon said:
“The discovery is our third successful well this year and demonstrates a continuing commitment by GDF Suez to an active exploration and appraisal drilling programme on the UK Continental Shelf.”
With his counterpart at BP, regional president of BP North Sea, Trevor Garlick saying:
“As BP marks its 50th year in the North Sea and as the industry looks to maximise economic recovery from the basin, increasing exploration activity and finding new ways to collaborate will be critical to realising remaining potential. This discovery is a great example of both,”
Both BP and GDF Suez have considerable interests in the UK with GDF Suez already having built fifty in the Central and Southern North Sea and West of Shetland and with over three hundred staff and contractors on the books in London and Aberdeen whilst BP, alongside co-venturers, is instigating a £10 billion investment programme in the North sea with more than £7 billion of that to be spent in the next five years.
Both Industry body Oil & Gas UK and the British government welcomed the discovery with Operations director of Oil and Gas UK, Oonagh Werngren saying:
“At a time when exploration in the UKCS (UK Continental Shelf) is facing severe investment and cost pressures, it is heartening to see two UK explorers apply their expertise to understand the risks of the CNS (Central North Sea) and demonstrate that there are still significant economic plays to be developed within the basin. Going forward, the UKCS needs to secure substantial investment and increase exploration, and this will come both through an improved fiscal regime and better technical understanding of the basin.”
And Business and Energy Minister Matthew Hancock saying:
“We are determined to have set the right fiscal and regulatory regimes to make sure we can get the maximum possible economic extraction of oil and gas from the North Sea. This discovery shows exactly what can be achieved in the North Sea if companies work together to maximise the considerable potential of remaining oil and gas reserves.”
Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing also voiced his support when he said:
“This discovery is another great example of the huge potential the future holds for the North Sea. With more effective collaboration, increased exploration activity and a commitment to maximising economic recovery, the overall value that the industry continues to generate for the wider economy can also be maximised. It is critical that current reforms to the regulatory and fiscal regimes applying in the North Sea are expedited and prioritised with a view to ensuring the economic viability of projects such as these, and to realising the opportunities for development of the vast remaining resources in the North Sea.”
Both BP and GDF Suez have urged caution over predicting how many barrels this could produce whilst third party estimates have seen the figure of fifty million banded about. In any case this find will only serve to strengthen Britain’s energy sector and economic prowess on a global stage.
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