UK offers 300 blocks, approves revival of first offshore oil field

By the OGJ Online Staff

LONDON, Jan. 16 -- Argyll, the first oil field to be developed in the UK North Sea, is expected to return to production 11 years after it was closed as uneconomic.

The announcement came as the UK government offered 300 blocks in its 20th licensing round. The government also said three small North Sea gas developments will proceed.

The announcements were made simultaneously to the UK Parliament, the European Commission, and PILOT, a government-industry task force working to secure the long-term future of the UK oil and gas industry. PILOT met Wednesday in Aberdeen.

Argyll is expected back on stream next year. The UK Energy Ministry issued the Argyll licenses as part of an out-of-round program.

Hamilton Bros. Ltd. produced Britain's first North Sea oil at Argyll field in 1975 and BP PLC's Forties field followed 3 months later. Only an estimated 40% of Argyll's reserves were produced, but 10 years ago it and the nearby associated Duncan and Innes fields, which were by then operated by BHP Pty., were abandoned and the license relinquished after they deemed uneconomic. In 1992, BHP removed the Argyll platform, which was towed to the Far East.

Now for the first time in the North Sea, the three old fields are to be redeveloped. The license holders are Tuscan Energy Ltd., Aberdeen, and Acorn Oil & Gas Ltd., London -- both of which were formed specifically to investigate the development of old offshore assets.

Tuscan plans to use technology unavailable in 1992, principally horizontal wells, to produce zones inaccessible to the original development wells.

Argyll, Duncan, and Innes all are on Block 30/24. Tuscan and Acorn propose to redevelop Argyll first, with the opportunity to redevelop Duncan and Innes subsequently. Each field is covered by a separate license, with the fourth covering the rest of the block.

The UK Energy Minister Brian Wilson said, "These are exactly the kind of investments that we have been aiming for as part of our strategy, working with the industry, to extend the life of the North Sea and thus maintain production and employment.

"It's good to see two small new British companies, taking a fresh and imaginative look at the opportunities in the North Sea, and introducing productive new alliances with the supply chain."

In another out-of-round award, the energy ministry authorized ATP Ltd., a subsidiary of ATP Inc. of the US and CalEnergy UK Ltd., to develop a Block 43/21a gas discovery that has been lying fallow for 10 years.

Wilson said, "ATP is one of the new entrants that we have been working hard to attract to the UK to bring work to our fallow discoveries. Their focused, high-efficiency approach, developed in the Gulf of Mexico, will allow them to develop the 43/21a discovery and other fallow discoveries, which others may not see as economic."

CalEnergy holds 20% of Windermere, 18% of Johnston, 5% of Victor, and 2% of Schooner gas fields in the UK North Sea.

Speaking in Aberdeen as he announced the 20th round, Wilson said, "We want to get these licenses into the hands of companies who are hungry and innovative. It will be a busy spring for explorers and their activity resulting from this licensing round. We are convinced of the need to make sure that licenses are held by companies best able to work and invest in them. Twentieth round licenses will have very tight time limits so if they are not exploited by the license holder they can be passed to companies who will develop them."

Wilson also approved development plans for Madoes, Mirren, and Maclure fields. The latter, operated by ExxonMobil Corp., is on Block 9/19. The three satellite subsea developments will require a #200 million investment. Combined reserves are 60 million bbl of oil and nearly 100 bcf of gas.

The closing date for 20th round applications is Apr. 16. After 4 years, companies will surrender half of the license area and after 4 more years, the balance of any area not covered by development plans.

Related Articles

BHI: US rig count falls 6 units to 857

07/17/2015 The US drilling rig count fell 6 units to reach 857 during the week ended July 17, essentially cancelling out the last 3 weeks’ worth of gains, acc...

Aussie, Timor-Leste regulators terminate Timor Gap permit

07/17/2015 Regulators in Australia and Timor-Leste have now formally terminated Timor Gap production-sharing contract JPDA 06-103, which leaves Australian com...

ConocoPhillips plans further capex reduction for deepwater exploration

07/16/2015 ConocoPhillips reported plans to further reduce its capital expenditures for deepwater exploration, with the “most significant reductions” coming f...

Fitch notes increase in energy-default rate

07/16/2015 Recent actions of two exploration and production companies have pushed the trailing 12-month energy default rate among issuers of high-yield bonds ...

ENOC trims Turkmen plan in Dragon takeover

07/16/2015 Emirates National Oil Co. Ltd. (ENOC), Dubai, will lower target oil production from the Cheleken area offshore Turkmenistan after acquiring full co...

KMI to buy Shell’s stake in Elba LNG project for $630 million

07/16/2015 Kinder Morgan Inc., Houston, has reached a deal with Royal Dutch Shell PLC to purchase 100% of Shell’s equity interest in Elba Liquefaction Co. LLC...

Genesis to buy Enterprise offshore pipelines

07/16/2015 Genesis Energy LP has agreed to buy the Gulf of Mexico pipelines and services business of Enterprise Products Partners LP for $1.5 billion cash.

Mexican round nets two successful bids

07/16/2015 Two of 14 shallow-water blocks received successful bids on July 15 in Mexico’s historic Round One offering of exploration and production rights (OG...

KMI brings second Texas condensate splitter online

07/15/2015 Kinder Morgan Inc., Houston, has commissioned the second of two splitters at the company’s new petroleum condensate processing facility located nea...
White Papers

Definitive Guide to Cybersecurity for the Oil & Gas Industry

In the Oil and Gas industry, there is no single adversary and no single threat to the information tech...

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

Better Data, Better Analytics, Better Decisions

When Tue, Oct 27, 2015

The Oil & Gas industry has large amounts of data stored in multiple systems which are purpose built for certain tasks. However, good decisions require insights based upon the data in all of these systems. These systems in turn do not talk to each other. So the process of analyzing data, gaining insights, and making decisions is a slow one and often a flawed one. Good decisions require accurate analytics and accurate analytics require superior/sustainable data quality and governance. This webinar focuses on:

  • The importance of data quality and governance
  • How technological advances are making data quality and governance sustainable in order to get the accurate analytics to make solid decisions.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Seven Lakes Technologies and Noah Consulting.


Operating a Sustainable Oil & Gas Supply Chain in North America

When Tue, Oct 20, 2015

Short lead times and unpredictable conditions in the Oil & Gas industry can create costly challenges in supply chains. By implementing a LEAN culture of continuous improvement you can eliminate waste, increase productivity and gain end-to-end visibility leading to a sustainable and well-oiled supply chain.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Ryder System, Inc.


On Demand

Leveraging technology to improve safety & reliability

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

Attend this informative webinar to learn more about how to leverage technology to meet the new OSHA standards and protect your employees from the hazards of arc flash explosions.


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!


Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected