Government grants to support UK frontier seismic studies

Offshore staff

ABERDEEN, UKBritain’s Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has welcomed Prime Minister David Cameron’s promised measures to assist the UK oil and gas industry during the current downturn.

OGA will provide £700,000 ($991,757) of government funding toward a new 3D visualization facility at the Lyell Centre in Edinburgh, a joint venture between the British Geological Survey and Heriot Watt University.

This will be used partly for new equipment to improve interpretation of complex geological and engineering data, with results and analytical tools available to the industry and academia.

In addition, the facility will analyze data obtained from last year’s government-funded seismic survey over the frontier Rockall Trough offshore western Scotland and the Mid-North Sea High (MNSH) regions.

Both will be the focus of the UK’s 29th Offshore Licensing Round, due to be unveiled later this year.

OGA will also provide up to £0.5 million ($0.71 million) of government funding for two post-doctoral appointments in UK universities in geoscience or reservoir engineering, each lasting two years.

Soon the authority will launch a competition to define the exploration potential of the Rockall Trough and MNSH areas using seismic data acquired from the recent surveys and additional public domain data.

OGA will make the 2015 seismic data available to the industry by end-March. This comprises more than 20,000 km (12,427 mi) of modern broadband 2D seismic data, supplemented by more than 15,000 km (9,320 mi) of legacy seismic and 1,000 km (621 mi) of reprocessed data.

The project, which involved three seismic vessels, has resulted in continued employment of processors and geoscientists at WesternGeco’s bases near Gatwick and in Aberdeen. Post-release of the data, the project should also allow industry E&P teams to work on associated licensing opportunities, in the process sustaining consultancies and the supply chain through the provision of complementary supporting activities.

The government has announced it will provide £20 million ($28.6 million) for a second round of new seismic surveys in 2016.

OGA chief executive Andy Samuel said: “The further support being put forward by the Oil and Gas Authority isn’t just an investment in the long-term future of the basin: it will also have immediate benefits to exploration. We’re working hard alongside industry to get the best out of the basin and deliver value to the sector.”

Finally, OGA is collaborating with the new single industry decommissioning board to produce a draft decommissioning strategy, with a draft plan set to be issued this spring. It will address improved cost efficiency, technology opportunities among other matters.


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