UK making headway in offshore production gains

Production efficiency has risen for a fourth consecutive year across the UK continental shelf, according to the Oil & Gas Authority.

Offshore staff

LONDON – Production efficiency (PE) has risen for a fourth consecutive year across the UK continental shelf (UKCS), according to the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA).

PE reached 73%, representing additional production of 12 MMboe compared with the level in 2015.

The UKCS Production Efficiency in 2016 report compares actual production in 2016 with the theoretical maximum economic potential of Britain’s fields and associated infrastructure.

Data was compiled as part of the OGA’s 2016 UKCS Stewardship Survey, which is said to have allowed for a more in-depth analysis of, for example, the main causes of lost production.

PE is also one of the focus areas for the UK’s Maximising Economic Recovery UK Asset Stewardship Task Force.

In its Activity Plan 2017 and 2018, the OGA identified PE as a key performance indicator for industry, targeting 80% PE for the UKCS by the end of 2018.

Between 2012 and 2016, losses from UK fields have fallen by 157 MMboe, while overall production has risen by 34 MMboe.

Among the report’s other findings were:

• In 2016, 38% of hubs met or exceeded the overall target of 80% for the UKCS, compared to 30% the previous year

• Over four years, increases of up to 57% (absolute) in operator production efficiency

• Since 2012, there has been cross-industry improvement with 88% of operators increasing in efficiency

• Total losses across the UKCS were 210 MMboe, with plant losses the largest contributory factor in the central North Sea, northern North Sea and west of Shetland: most of the losses caused by full plant outages

• In the southern North Sea, wells make up the largest loss category, due in part to this region being more mature and the resultant degradation of well productivity over time

• Water injection efficiency rose 3% last year, leading to reduced losses and improved production.

Gunther Newcombe, OGA Operations Director, said: “There remains more work to be done to meet the OGA and industry’s joint PE target of 80%. In 2016, there was the potential to increase UKCS production by 29 MMbbl. If these projects were completed, this would have increased UKCS PE by another 3%...

“We will continue to support all operators in their efforts to further increase PE through the OGA’s tiered reviews and through the MER UK Asset Stewardship Task Force and its Production Efficiency Task Force, focusing on gas compression, shutdown and terminal infrastructure losses.”

Matt Nicol, Production Efficiency Task Force (PETF) chairman, said: “Plant losses have reduced significantly again, and the PETF’s TAR and gas compression work groups have helped industry in these key areas. Export system losses are a concern, and the PETF formed the terminals work group in 2016 to focus on this issue.”

Mike Tholen, Oil & Gas UK’s upstream policy director, added: “Improving production efficiency has been a firm priority for the industry over recent years. Oil & Gas UK set up a special task force to improve performance and to ensure good practice is shared and it is encouraging to see these efforts over the past four years have helped to improve production from existing assets.

“The Production Efficiency Task Force is concentrating on improving hub shutdowns, gas compression, and terminals’ performance to safely minimize operations downtime and maximize flow rates to achieve the target of 80% PE in 2018.”


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