New Industry Group to Harness Potential of Southern North Sea Gas Reserves

Published Nov 21, 2016
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Deirdre Michie, chief executive of Oil & Gas UK, on a visit to the East of England earlier this year with the Est of England energy Group chair Patrick Phelan, left, and chief executive Simon Gray (photo: EEEGR)

A steering group of offshore companies working together to explore opportunities to maximise remaining gas reserves in the Southern North Sea (SNS) has been appointed. A mix of operators, duty holders, service businesses and supply chain organisations will form the group after a flood of applications to be part of the initiative launched by the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA), Oil & Gas UK and the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR).

Work streams of the new SNS Rejuvenation Special Interest Group could help to secure the future of the offshore oil and gas industry in the East of England for more than two decades. Its first meeting will be in December.

The group’s remit is wide – seeking to maximise economic recovery (MER) of gas reserves for at least another 20 years by identifying new opportunities, including examining the potential for carboniferous gas reserves.

It will also seek to nurture collaboration and co-operation between existing operators, and with offshore wind developers, as well as examining how equipment and processes might be standardised to drive costs down.

The work streams driven by the group could help to protect jobs for the next 20 years, making sure that the region’s businesses continue to reap the benefits of the industry.

Companies selected for the steering group represent regional, national and international Interests and were chosen to reflect the spread of the industry following a gap analysis.

Members are: Shell, Oranje-Nassau Energie (ONE), Premier Oil, ENGIE E&P UK, Centrica, ODE, Aker Solutions, James Fisher & Sons, DNVGL, Sembmarine SLP, Baker Hughes, Lloyds Register, Fraser Well Management, Acteon, SSE and Statoil.

Deirdre Michie, chief executive of Oil and Gas UK, says, “Oil and Gas UK recognises the key role that the SNS gas fields play for UKPLC and we are keen to ensure that our members play a major part in ensuring the future role of these important assets for the nation for generations to come.”

Simon Gray, chief executive of EEEGR, adds, “EEEGR is delighted to be working with the OGA and Oil and Gas UK in this vital piece of work. This could assist in securing the future of our industry for the region – protecting jobs and making sure that businesses in our region continue to reap the benefits of this industry. We will be providing the secretariat for the SIG and organising events that stem from the work streams that the SIG identifies.”

The SIG was launched by Eric Marston, Southern North Sea and Morecambe Bay manager for the OGA at EEEGR’s House of Commons reception in October.

“The SNS continues to be a key contributor to the UK’s energy needs. I would expect production to keep going for at least another 20 years, at least until 2035,” Marston told 200 guests. “However it isn’t that simple. A significant portion of these opportunities are not easy to access. Much of what is left in the SNS are small pool and tight gas opportunities. These resources are increasingly expensive, commercially risky and complex to develop. We need to work on how to harness that potential including both innovative technical and commercial solutions.”

The Oil and Gas Authority was formed in April 2015 with a brief to Maximise Economic Recovery (MER) of UK the Continental Shelf (UKCS) oil and gas reserves in line with the findings of the Wood Review.

Last January, the Government laid a revised MER UK Strategy in the House of Parliament for scrutiny, which was brought into force in March. One of the key actions required was that regional strategies should be developed starting with the Southern North Sea as the most mature region.

Tags: East of England Energy Group (EEEGR), Oil & Gas Authority (OGA), Oil & Gas UK


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