The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has estimated that an additional 900 million barrels of oil could be extracted from the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) by increasing the recovery factor (RF) of a prioritised selection of large oil fields.

Recovery factor is the overall proportion of oil expected to be extracted from the UKCS. The OGA’s Recovery Factor Benchmarking report, published today (7 September 2017), presents an estimate of the current expected recovery factor for UKCS oil fields and highlights the ongoing work the OGA is undertaking with industry to identify how economic recovery can be increased.

The current forecast recovery factor of the UKCS is around 43 per cent, which means that over half of the oil that has been discovered is left within the reservoir. Over time, average benchmarked RF performance has increased; but with field complexity also increasing over time, the result is that the overall RF has not significantly changed. Small improvements to these rates could make a major difference to overall reserves, fully aligned with Maximising Economic Recovery UK.

By looking at the potential of a number of prioritised fields, the OGA estimates that an additional 900 million barrels of oil could potentially be produced through increases to RF as a result of improved asset stewardship.

OGA chief executive Andy Samuel said: “This new benchmarking analysis further underlines the significant prize remaining across the UKCS, in this case across a number of producing fields. The OGA will be sharing our results with operators to highlight and quantify opportunities where increasing recovery factor should lead to increased value in line with MER UK. These data help us understand RF performance across the basin, prioritise our asset stewardship reviews with operators and identify new opportunities for improvement and sharing good practices.”

Dave Lynch, BP’s vice president reservoir development, said: “The recovery factor benchmarking analysis produced by the OGA will be of huge value to highlight and develop the potential in existing, producing fields. We will be using this benchmarking work within BP to maximise economic recovery from our assets.”



Notes to editors:

  • The OGA has published a Recovery Factor Benchmarking report today (7 September 2017) which presents an estimate of the current expected recovery factor for UKCS oil fields
  • As part of the OGA’s Asset Stewardship Strategy, Belltree, a specialist upstream oil and gas consultancy was appointed by the OGA to develop recovery factor benchmarks for oil and gas fields on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS)
  • Belltree’s proprietary oil and gas benchmarking software tool, bMark™, has been adopted by the OGA to help maximise economic recovery for the UK (MER UK)
  • The MER UK Strategy can be found here. It was published on 18 March 2016


For more information, please contact Tracey Miller, Communication Manager at OGA press office:

Tel: +44 (0) 300 020 1072