The OGA has awarded contracts for the second UK Government funded £20 million seismic campaign to promote underexplored areas of UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

PGS and WesternGeco have been awarded the contracts to acquire seismic data from the East Shetland Platform and South West Britain respectively. The programme is anticipated to collect between 10,000 and 15,000 km of new seismic data from under-explored frontier areas. The acquisition is due to begin in July, subject to receiving the relevant environmental approvals, and will be supplemented by selective reprocessing of legacy seismic datasets. Acquisition is expected to be completed during Q4 2016 and released to industry in Q2 2017, mirroring the 2015 seismic programme which saw more than 40,000 line km of new and reprocessed data successfully released to industry earlier this year.

The seismic acquisition programme forms part of a package of measures designed to support the oil and gas sector, announced by the Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this year. The areas were selected following engagement with industry and endorsed by the MER UK Exploration Board.

Gunther Newcombe, OGA Director of Exploration and Production, said: “The seismic acquisition programme is a critical part of OGA’s plan to revitalise exploration. Last year’s programme, which covered the Rockall Trough and Mid-North Sea High areas, sparked significant interest in these frontier areas of the UKCS with more than 3,000 downloads of the standard seismic data packages. Studies of these areas are being carried out which will provide valuable insight into their potential ahead of the 29th Offshore Licensing Round which we hope to announce imminently, subject to completion of the Strategic Environmental Assessment.

“The 2016 programme is focusing on under-explored frontier areas where no substantial seismic has been acquired in decades. It is expected these areas will be made available for licensing in the 31st Frontier Licensing Round which will be held in 2018.

“The UKCS is in a unique position having recovered more than 43 billion boe to-date, yet up to 20 billion boe still remains. The challenge is now for industry to increase exploration drilling in the UKCS and work with OGA to meet our shared target of 50 Exploration & Appraisal wells per year by 2021.”

WG MagellanPGS vessel the Nordic Explorer is scheduled to carry out seismic surveys across the East Shetland Platform which includes the East Orkney Basin, East Fair Isle Basin and Dutch Bank Basin. WesternGeco vessel WG Magellan is scheduled to carry out seismic surveys around South West Britain, including; the Celtic Sea, Western English Channel, Bristol Channel, St George’s Channel and the Irish Sea.

Thorbjørn Rekdal, Regional President Marine Contract Europe, PGS said: “We are pleased the OGA awarded one of the contracts to PGS which shows confidence in our ability to deliver high quality data in an efficient and timely manner. The survey will be acquired with GeoStreamer.”

Patrick Legh-Smith, WesternGeco Vice President Marine said: “We are delighted to be a part of the UK government’s initiative to drive growth in the country’s oil and gas sector. This award leverages our experience in frontier exploration acquisition and builds on the work done by WesternGeco during the first UK seismic campaign in 2015. The survey shall be completed using Q-Marine* point-receiver seismic technology with broadband techniques for enhanced imaging.”


Further information:

  • The Prime Minister announced the further £20m funding for the second seismic acquisition during his visit to Aberdeen in January 2016
  • This Rockall Trough and Mid-North Sea High seismic acquisition was completed in 2015. The project delivered approximately 40,000 km of new and legacy data which was published under the Open Government Licence on 31st March 2016
  • It remains available to download from UK Oil and Gas Data
  • The 29th Offshore Licensing Round is due to open in Q3 2016, subject to completion of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). It covers frontier areas including the Rockall Trough and Mid-North Sea High areas.
  • The MER UK Exploration Board is co-chaired by Phil Kirk, Chief Executive of Chrysaor, and Gunther Newcombe, E&P Director, OGA.

For more information please contact:

Leona Minellas
Press and Media Advisor
Oil & Gas Authority
Tel: +44 (0) 300 020 1072

Email: pressoffice@nstauthority