The OGA announces the successful completion of the data acquisition stage of the UK Government-funded seismic campaign, on time and without incident. The £20 million programme in underexplored areas of the United Kingdom Continental Shelf (UKCS) will significantly improve the previously sparse seismic coverage in the Rockall Trough and Mid-North Sea High regions.

The programme, completed by WesternGeco on 11 October, acquired almost 20,000 km of new 2D seismic lines over an area of 200,000 km2. The latest seismic acquisition and processing technologies were used to enhance subsurface imaging to help improve understanding of the geology and potential prospectivity.

Additional seismic information contributed by WesternGeco from the 2014 Atlantic Margin survey will be complemented by other legacy datasets to create a combined data package of 40,000 km.

The OGA is currently preparing for the 29th Round which, subject to the necessary regulatory approvals, will be announced in 2016 focusing on frontier areas using the data from the seismic campaign. In addition, we welcome nominations from industry, by the end of 2015, of blocks in other areas that may be made available for licensing.

Gunther Newcombe, OGA’s Director of Exploration and Production, said:

“I am delighted that our partner WesternGeco has completed the campaign on time and without incident, having surveyed an area almost the size of the British Isles. Seismic data is currently being processed by WesternGeco and data packages will be made freely available when they are finalised towards the end of Q1 2016.

“HM Treasury’s financial support for the programme and the close working relationship between industry and the OGA underlines the benefits of collaboration. We are confident the results will highlight the significant opportunities that remain on the UKCS and will aim to announce the 29th Offshore Licensing Round next year, focusing on frontier areas.”

Oonagh Werngren, Oil & Gas UK Operations Director, said:

“The completion of the data acquisition stage of the seismic programme is very good news at a time when the sector is challenged with attracting fresh investment into the UKCS. It clearly demonstrates that government and industry can work together to make a significant contribution to developing understanding of the basin. By ensuring that the data will be made available to both industry and academia, the OGA is promoting maximum value from the surveys, which will help to stimulate further exploration activity in the UK.”

Exploration activity on the UKCS has fallen in recent years and this campaign is part of a comprehensive plan to help revitalise exploration on the UKCS. Other related activities include the ongoing 21st Century Exploration Roadmap Palaeozoic Study, managed by the British Geological Survey in collaboration with industry.

Notes to editors:

  • During the programme there were zero reportable HSE incidents.
  • The Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon George Osborne MP, announced the £20 million funding for the seismic programme in the March 2015 Budget, as part of a £1.3 billion package of measures to drive investment in the UKCS.
  • The programme acquired 8,896km of full-fold seismic in the Rockall Trough area, 10,849 km of full-fold seismic acquired in Mid-North Sea High.
  • Following a competitive tendering process, OGA awarded the contract to undertake the seismic acquisition programme to WesternGeco, a Schlumberger company.