There are 10 to 20+ billion barrels of oil equivalent (bnboe) in recoverable resources remaining on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), which is still a significant upside compared with the total production to date of 44 bnboe. Of the future recoverable resources, 5.4 bnboe are either developed or sanctioned reserves, and a further 7.5 bnboe are in discoveries awaiting development plans. The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) estimated that additional additional 4 bnboe are in prospects and leads yet to be discovered and up to 11 bnboe in plays.

The pace at which production is replaced with new reserves is currently slow but is improving. In 2017, compared with a yearly production of 600 mmboe, only 100 mmboe in new projects were sanctioned, while in 2018 there has been a welcome increase in project approvals (including both field developments and facilities upgrades) from 7 in 2017 to 27 in 2018, adding close to 500mmboe.

UKCS projects represents a significant opportunity for the supply chain, with nearly 50% of the 7.5bnboe in discovered resources likely to require subsea developments.

The “Revitalising the UKCS” conference session at Subsea Expo will explore the opportunities and challenges around new field developments. Sponsored by the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA), in collaboration with Subsea UK, the Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) and the National Subsea Research Initiative (NSRI) this session will take place on the final day of Subsea Expo (Thursday, 7th February) at the AECC in Aberdeen.

Neil Gordon, chief executive of Subsea UK, said: “Despite being one of the most developed basins in the world, the UKCS still has enormous potential. But we need to have frank conversations about what’s stopping development and what needs to change to bring this forward. Contrary to some perceptions, this is not just a technology issue. With a change in mind-set, we can collaboratively overcome both the commercial and economic barriers to unlock this potential and deliver value for the industry, its shareholders and stakeholders, including the Treasury, in line with the industry’s vision for 2035 and MER UK.”

The OGA’s head of technology, Carlo Procaccini will lead a discussion on the opportunities for further development of the UKCS. He said: “Building on the industry’s hard work to improve operational and project performance over the recent years, and today’s more positive market outlook, we should accelerate new field planning and delivery to fully leverage the existing infrastructure.”

Tony Laing of NSRI will chair a panel looking at the enabling technologies, and Mr Gordon will head up the debate around the commercial and economic challenges associated with marginal field developments.

The session will also welcome Professor Alex Kemp from the University of Aberdeen, who will explore the potential long-term activity in the UKCS, and representatives from the OGTC, who will discuss how the adoption of new technology is vital to accessing these reserves.

Entrance to the exhibition and conference is free of charge; pre-registration is recommended via the website.

The full programme is available here.