ODAC: UK was net oil importer in 2006

The UK became a net importer of oil for most of 2006, according to the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre (ODAC) in Aberdeen.

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, Mar. 13 -- The UK became a net importer of oil for most of 2006, according to the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre (ODAC) in Aberdeen. "It is time for the UK government to let go of the idea that the UK will be a net oil exporter until 2010 and accept we are now dependent on imports," ODAC said.

Data published by the UK Department for Trade and Industry showed that the UK imported oil during every month in 2006 except for June. DTI forecasts that the UK will export oil for a few months during 2007 and see a decline in domestic oil production. From 2008, the International Energy Agency and the US Energy Information Administration expect the UK to be a net oil importer.

In May 2006 the UK imported its highest net volume over that year of 1.357 million tonnes of oil compared with 100,000 tonnes of oil in March, which was the lowest volume. In June the UK exported 298,000 tonnes.

A spokeswoman for the UK Offshore Operators' Association said the difference in oil imports and indigenous production in 2006 was small. "Last year's dip can be attributed to lower-than-expected North Sea production, owing in part to delays in new fields coming on stream, reservoir performance, and maintenance programs. Global constraints on resources, including equipment and personnel, also had an impact on activity levels in the UK."

Crude oil production in the UK in 2006 was an estimated 1.6 million b/d, while consumption was an estimated 1.7 million b/d. She added that major projects are expected to come on stream in 2007 and 2008.

"Based on the most recent information given to us by our members, we believe it now likely that the UK will become a net importer of oil from 2009 onwards. However, indigenous production could still provide 90% of the UK's oil needs in 2010," the spokeswoman said.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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