GLASGOW, UK – Activity levels in the UK and Norwegian offshore sectors continue to diverge strongly, according to the latest review from Hannon Westwood (HW).
The consultants estimate that in 2014, UK fields produced a total of roughly 600 MMboe, up from 520 MMboe in 2013. A number of large new field developments came onstream includingJasmine, Juliet, Rochelle and Golden Eagle, all in the UK central North Sea.
In addition, the UK government approved a re-start of production from BP’s Rhum gas/condensate field, which had been suspended due to sanctions against an Iranian partner.
But there was a decline in the number of UK exploration and appraisal (E&A) wells last year. The 25 wells spudded, comprising 12 exploration and 13 appraisal wells, were seven less than the 32 wells spudded in 2013. This represented the lowest level of activity on the UK continental shelf since 1970.
The central North Sea was the most active, with 12 E&A wells spudded, followed by the southern gas basin with six, four wells west of Shetland, two in the UK northern North Sea, and one in the East Irish Sea off northwest England.
Drilling delivered five discoveries, Avalon, Marconi/Vorlich, Leman SW, Romeo and Cepheus, with a potentially recoverable resource of around 50 MMboe. Although this is seemingly modest, four of the finds are considered commercial with only Romeo viewed as non-commercial.
In Norway, HW counted 15 new discoveries last year with combined reserves estimated at 700 MMboe, led by Lundin’s Alta in the Barents Sea (270 MMboe) and the VNG-operated Pil in the Norwegian Sea (120 MMboe).
This year the consultants foresee roughly 50 E&A well spuds offshore Norway, with 20-30 at best in the UK sector.