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Subsea Expo: industry experts unite to unlock full potential of the UKCS

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Oilfield Technology,

Unlocking the full potential of the North Sea will be on the top of the agenda at Subsea Expo – the industry’s annual flagship conference and exhibition.

The ‘Revitalising the UKCS’ conference session will explore the opportunities and challenges around new and marginal fields so that the estimated 7.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent (billion boe) in discoveries awaiting development plans can be recovered and further activity in the basin stimulated.

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.

A panel of operators, suppliers, industry experts and government officials will join together to debate the barriers and the potential solutions for recovery of the remaining resources. This will include looking at licensing and infrastructure access, along with enabling technologies.

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.”

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 OGA’s head of technology, Carlo Procaccini will lead a discussion on the opportunities which exist 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.”

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.

Hamish Westwater, projects group manager at Apache, will also share the successes and lessons learned from the Garten field development, which achieved first oil in less than a year and well ahead of the original plan. As the 2,500th exploration well on the UK Continental Shelf, the development is an exemplary case study on exploiting the existing potential of the UKCS.

The OGA predicts that there are 10 to 20+ billion boe in recoverable resources remaining in the UKCS, of which, 5.4 billion boe are either developed or sanctioned reserves, and a further 7.5 billion boe are in discoveries awaiting development plans. It is estimated that additional 4 billion boe are in prospects and leads yet to be discovered and up to 11 billion boe in plays.

Subsea Expo will take place from 5-7th February 2019 at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre. This year’s event will have the theme ‘Innovating the Future’ and will stimulate high-level discussions on technological and commercial innovation, including digitalisation, required to accelerate delivery of sustainable energy and operation efficiency.

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