This, the report claims, is a clear sign that confidence is gradually returning to the basin, adding that the transactions should also help to attract further new investment over the next couple of years.
There are also indications of various new UK offshore projects securing approval in the New Year, adding to the more positive outlook for 2018.
Mike Tholen, Oil & Gas UK’s Upstream Policy Director, said: “With Transferable Tax History in play, we expect that M&A activity will continue into 2018 as established players can more easily divest their non-core assets to companies better suited to invest in them and extend field life.
“Analysis shows that when an asset changes operatorship, average field life extension of nearly five years is achieved, and I am confident that trend will continue to shape the future of the UKCS.”
However, the report also cautioned on the subdued state of UK offshore development drilling, with a total of only 63 wells drilled across the sector during the first three quarters of the year.
Tholen said: “Oil & Gas UK’s Wells Forum is working with the industry on a basin-wide performance improvement strategy which will help to make well construction a more efficient and cost-effective process.
“Success in our wells strategy will create a virtuous circle to help unlock more opportunities on the UKCS.”