Production Efficiency on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) has improved for the sixth consecutive year, according to the latest analysis by the Oil and Gas Authority, which has been launched for the first time as an online digital visualisation tool, allowing users to fully explore the data.

In 2018, Production Efficiency reached 75%, representing an additional 11 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe) overall; or 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day over 2017; and is a 1% improvement from the previous year (2017).

Actual wellhead production increased by 3% in 2018 compared to the previous year, with economic production potential rising by 1% in 2018 due to new fields coming on stream, counteracting a natural decline of maturing fields.

The new interactive digital format fully supports the OGA’s digital strategy and is available here.

The key points from the analysis include:

  • Overall production losses in 2018 fell by 6 million barrels of oil equivalent to 196 million barrels of oil equivalent (from 202 million barrels in 2017), as a result of reduced well and export losses. 
  • Well losses across the UKCS fell by 21% in 2018.
  • Plant losses rose significantly with an 14% increase in 2018.
  • Over-runs reduced by 53% since 2017, showing improved estimation of planned shutdowns.
  • 4 out of 5 regions saw increased production efficiency, only the CNS had a decline of 1 percentage point; East Irish Sea (EIS) saw production efficiency increase by 17 percentage points; West of Shetland (WoS) by 6 percentage points.
  • Floating platforms had the biggest increase (5%) in overall PE compared to the previous year; with floating platforms from Northern North Seas and West of Shetland seeing an increase in PE of 13 percentage points.
  • Large platforms increased PE by 4 percentage points.

The analysis compares actual wellhead production to the theoretical maximum economic potential of the UKCS hubs (and associated infrastructure), compared to previous years. PE is an important indicator for the industry and the OGA as a core element of production optimisation and asset stewardship performance.

Data were collected as part of the OGA's 2018 UKCS Stewardship Survey, which allowed for a more in-depth analysis in key areas, for example in looking at the major causes of lost production.

Loraine Pace, the OGA’s Head of Performance, Planning and Reporting said: “It is positive news to see PE has continued to improve year-on-year in the UKCS. The steady improvement demonstrates industry is keeping up best practice, sustaining efficiency efforts and driving new technologies. The launch of the brand new digital visualisation tool allows users to get a much better understanding and get behind the power of the data. The OGA remains committed to working with all operators in their efforts to further increase PE to the target of 80%.”

Matt Nicol, Production Efficiency Task Force (PETF) Chairman added: “It’s great to see PE increased for a sixth consecutive year to 75%, and there are still opportunities for improvement with industry striving to reach its 80% target. The PETF remains committed to helping industry improve and has active work groups focused on the top three production losses. We’ve just launched a new Brownfield Digitalisation work group to concentrate on the adoption and deployment of technology to help deliver further disruptive PE enhancements. Industry is collaborating and delivering results, and we are encouraging more volunteers to join the PETF to continue this momentum and for every operator to get involved.”

Notes for editors:

Production Efficiency Dashboard:

  1. The PE Dashboard can be found here.
  2. Users can drill down through the production efficiency KPIs by year and UKCS region to get dynamic insights and trends.
  3. Supply chain companies can benefit from the tool to identify the key focus areas related to efficiency improvements for UKCS regions.
  4. Guidelines to use the digital report can be found here
  5. Methodology page for PE calculation can be found here
  • An infographic illustrating the analysis can be found at:
  • For the purposes of this report, PE is defined as the total volume of hydrocarbons produced in 2018 as a percentage of economic maximum production potential (Economic Production Efficiency) and is based on guidelines drafted by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (Production Efficiency Reporting – Best Practice Guidelines)
  • PE is also a key focus area for the Maximising Economic Recovery (MER) UK Asset Stewardship Task Force. In our Activity Plan 2017 and 2018, the OGA identified PE as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for industry, with a target of 80% PE for the UKCS by the end of 2022.
  • For further information, please contact Tracey Miller, Communications Manager at the Oil and Gas Authority: Tel: +44 (0) 300 020 1072 Email: or