OGA sees pick-up in UK offshore drilling
The Oil & Gas Authority has welcomed yesterday’s announcement of CNOOC’s Glengorm gas/condensate discovery in the UK central North Sea.
OGA chief executive Dr. Andy Samuel said: “Glengorm was first mapped as a prospect around 20 years ago and it is great to see CNOOC taking up the exploration opportunity and completing a difficult high-pressure, high-temperature exploration well.
“Initial results show that Glengorm could be one of the biggest finds in the UKCS [UK continental shelf] in recent years, possibly the biggest since the Culzean gas field was discovered 11 years ago.”
“This underlines the considerable potential of the UKCS. Our official estimate is that there still remains between 10 and 20 Bbbl-plus to be recovered, so there is every chance of yet more significant finds, provided industry can increase exploration drilling and capitalize on the real value to be had here in the UK.”
Over the past few years the OGA has introduced various initiatives to revive UK offshore exploration. Next month it will assume ownership of the new National Data Repository which will for the first time open UKCS’ released subsurface data to the public.
Last year only seven UK offshore exploratory wells were drilled compared to 13 in 2014. But despite the lower numbers, the volumes discovered in UK waters appears to have more than doubled, up from 83 MMboe in total in 2014 to 175 MMboe in 2017.
At the same time costs associated with finding these volumes have fallen $9/bbl in 2014 to just over $1/bbl in 2018.
Across the UKCS, around 43% of exploration wells drilled are potentially commercial, the OGA claims, compared with the global average of around 36%.
With the industry acquiring three times as much seismic data in the UK sector last year compared to the previous two years, the outlook appears healthier, the OGA said, with the industry potentially drilling around 18 exploration wells and 19 appraisal wells across the basin this year.
OGA Head of Exploration & New Ventures, Dr. Nick Richardson said: “The UKCS has a diverse set of opportunities: from play-opening high-impact targets; to small, high-value, near-field opportunities; to undeveloped discoveries.
“This diversity accommodates a range of company strategies and allows investors in the UKCS to build a balanced portfolio within a stable regulatory and fiscal regime.”