UK lease round acreage holds large oil potential

Acreage on offer in the upcoming UK licensing round holds a potential of 17 billion bbl, according to a study by North Sea consultancy Hannon Westwood.

Jan 21st, 2008

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, Jan. 21 -- Acreage on offer in the upcoming UK licensing round holds a potential of 17 billion bbl, according to a study by North Sea consultancy Hannon Westwood.

The government is expected to launch in late January the 25th licensing round with the largest number of blocks to date, and it will close by the end of April. Hannon Westwood said this bidding round "has the potential to add 648 million boe through discoveries and 16.6 billion boe thorough prospects to the UKCS asset pool."

Examining unlicensed blocks and part blocks, the report said there were 36 discoveries, which hold 648 million boe of gross unrisked potential reserves, of which are 389 million bbl oil and 1.55 tcf of gas. There are 275 prospects within the blocks, and these hold an estimated 16.6 billion boe of unrisked potential reserves. Prospects hold 11.8 billion bbl of oil and 28.6 tcf of gas.

The potential resource in the study compares to 7,500 million boe in discoveries and about 50,000 million boe unrisked, undrilled in exploration prospects in licensed and unlicensed acreage, according to Hannon Westwood's database.

During the last 12 months, exploration and appraisal activity on the UK Continental Shelf had reached record levels over the past 10 years, the study said. In 2007, 65 vertical wells were spudded. Hannon Westwood estimates that there are another 3 years of drilling at the current pace because there are more than 220 exploration and appraisal wells planned for 2008-10.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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