Confidence returning to NW Europe?

On the heels of record-breaking participation at the 27th Licensing Round of the UKCS, in its latest economic report Oil & Gas UK stated that investment in UK offshore development projects this year should approach £11.5 billion ($17.8 billion).

David Paganie • Houston

On the heels of record-breaking participation at the 27th Licensing Round of the UKCS, in its latest economic report Oil & Gas UK stated that investment in UK offshore development projects this year should approach £11.5 billion ($17.8 billion). This is an increase of more than 30% compared with the total committed to UK offshore fields in 2011. This period of increasing interest is due, in part, to the new measures announced by the UK government in March. One measure is a pledge to improve clarity on tax relief for North Sea decommissioning programs. The UK government expects that these new measures will persuade companies to free up more capital for investment, in turn increasing or extending production from UK fields. For more on these and other E&P trends across Northwest Europe, turn topage 36 for an exclusive report by Deloitte Petroleum Services.

Speaking of the North Sea,Tyson Bridger of Emerson Process Management contends that for all the focus on EOR (enhanced oil recovery) in offshore operations, little attention has been paid to the crucial role reservoir modeling plays in bolstering recovery rates. In his article which starts on page 50, he notes that reservoir modeling is playing an important role in increasing recovery rates and supporting EOR programs in the Norwegian North Sea. One example is Statoil's Statfjord field, one of the oldest producing fields on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) that today delivers recovery rates of up to 66% and is scheduled to remain active until 2019.

One company – GDF SUEZ – is testing its confidence in the long-term viability of the UKCS by stating its intent to become a leading operator in the region. After 15 years as a co-venturer or exploration operator on the UKCS, GDF SUEZ is preparing for a leading development role, according toJeremy Beckman, Offshore Editor-Europe. The company has interests in over 40 UKCS licenses, 16 as operator, and claims to be the UK's eighth-largest offshore acreage holder. But Juliet and Cygnus in the southern North Sea will be its first major operated UK projects. Beckman's full report begins on page 40.

In the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, Statoil continues to advance its strategy to improve oil recovery (IOR) from new and existing fields. Part of its approach has been to roll out a new fleet of rigs engineered to its specifications for cost savings and drilling efficiencies. A category has been assigned to each new rig type: Category A, for light well intervention; Category B, for heavier intervention and workover; Category D, for drilling and completing new development wells; and Category J, which refers to jackup rigs for development work.Offshore contributing editor Nick Terdre examines Statoil's ongoing IOR initiatives, beginning on page 32.

Inaugural pipeline survey

To complement Offshore's existing series of maps, posters, and surveys, I am pleased to introduce in this issue the inaugural "Global offshore pipeline construction survey." Prepared byOffshore managing editor Bruce Beaubouef, it includes the technical specifications and the latest updates on the status of the major offshore oil and gas export/transmission pipeline projects around the world. Approximately 5,840 mi (9,399 km) of pipeline projects are represented in the survey. See page 108for the complete survey.

To respond to articles in Offshore, or to offer articles for publication, contact the editor by email (davidp@pennwell.com).

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