Apache provides North Sea operations update

Offshore staff

Apache Corp. has provided an update to its North Sea operations, recent drilling success, and views on the future potential of its portfolio in the region.

The company stated that the North Sea region plays an important role in its overall portfolio by providing competitive investment opportunities across multiple time horizons, exposure to an asset base that is less sensitive to oil price volatility, and potential reserve upside with high-impact exploration potential.  

With industry-leading production efficiency of 92%, approximately 50% lower operating costs and materially advantaged infrastructure and offtake capabilities, Apache’s position in the North Sea is highly differentiated.

The Forties field has produced more than 2.6 Bbbl of oil and has recovered more than 50% of the resource in place over the past 40 years.  With the size of the remaining resource estimated at nearly 2.5 Bbbl, even small incremental improvements in the recovery factor can result in significant reserve and production gains. Notably, every 1% increase in recovery factor equates to approximately 50 MMbbl of additional recoverable reserves.

Beryl is a geologically complex area with multiple fields and stacked pay potential providing significant exploration opportunity. Following the completion of the first 3D shoot since 1997, the company recently announced two discoveries in the area and is moving ahead with development and additional exploration efforts.

Since the acquisition of these two fields, Apache has invested nearly $2.6 billion in infrastructure and is now reaping the benefits of this investment as a higher percentage of capital dollars is now being directed to drilling and production. Over the past four years, the company has invested 44% of its capital on infrastructure, yet over the next five years, it is estimated the company will only spend 12% of its annual capital on infrastructure requirements. The result will be improving capital efficiency, and all else being equal, improving returns on capital employed.

Apache estimates its total net unrisked reserve potential in the North Sea is 574 MMboe to more than 1 Bboe, none of which was booked at year-end 2014. This potential represents an opportunity of four to seven times its year-end 2014 proved reserves in the North Sea of approximately 145 MMboe. Assuming historical development and exploration success rates, the company says it can sustain both reserves and production at current levels for at least another five years while generating significant free cash flow. 

CEO and President John J. Christmann IV said: “The North Sea region plays a key role in the Apache portfolio, and our assets are highly differentiated from other operators in the area. We can either sustain or grow our reserves, production and free cash flow at high rates of return, depending on how much capital we ultimately allocate there.

“We will be able to achieve this because we have high-quality assets coupled with an infrastructure advantage, a cost advantage and a very large exploratory and development inventory. I am proud of what we have delivered this year and am even more excited about what we are positioned to deliver in the future.”


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