New initiatives target increase in UK exploration drilling

Offshore staff

LONDONOil & Gas UK has initiated two projects designed to stimulate UK offshore exploration.

Operations director Oonagh Werngren, speaking at the PETEX exploration and production conference in London, said two projects have evolved from a scoping study for the “21st Century Exploration Road Map,” the purpose of which is to create a digital perspective of the UK continental shelf (UKCS) petroleum geology.

One is an industry-wide review, led and funded by Britain’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, of wells drilled in the UK central North Sea during 2003-2013. This area is thought to contain the UK’s largest remaining potential.

The other is a study by the British Geological Survey of the Palaeozoic potential of the UKCS that will draw on data from operators and contractors.

Werngren said: “The findings from these two pan-industry projects will feed into the 21st Century Exploration Road Map Project, which aims to improve exploration success through developing a systematic analysis of the key exploration plays of the North Sea and address the 50% decrease in the number of wells drilled.

“We are looking to all companies working on the UKCS to actively participate in these projects through sponsorship and by providing staff time or geological or geophysical interpretations.”

The Road Map, she added, “aligns with the recommendations put forward by the recent Wood Report, which identifies the urgent need to evaluate new and unexplored resources and create an up-to-date perspective of the petroleum geology of the UKCS together with tools to ensure more effective sharing of data across the industry.

“There is an urgent need to increase the success rate of exploration in the UKCS where well costs, as well as operational costs, continue to rise.”


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