UK hydrocarbon output towards next peak

Oct 20, 1997 02:00 AM

Sept. 2, 1997 New British oil developments likely within 5 years will help U.K. output to hit all time highs of 3 million barrels per day for the next 3 years, consultants Wood Mackenzie said.
But the Edinburgh-based consultants also said in a report on future oil and gas development around Britain that production rate will fall away quickly without further significant oil finds to add to reserves.
Heavy capital expenditure since the early 1990's will take oil and oil liquids production to a "second peak" from 1998 to 2000, if the projected developments come to fruition on time. The first period of peak production was from 1984 to 1987 when oil, condensates and NGLs were produced at a rate of over 2.6 mm bpd.
The 20 potential developments added in 1997 to Wood Mackenzie's list of 47 projects expected to receive British government approval by 2002 will add an average of 38 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) to reserves. Total additions to reserves will be 760 mm boe.
"Based on the level of reserves discovered ... over recent years there could be a continued decline in the size and number of future developments unless exploration in frontier regions can yield a new wave of larger commercial developments," Wood Mackenzie said. The 18 projects removed from last year's list because they received government approval for development averaged 45 million boe and totalled 1.5 billion boe, Wood Mackenzie said. The fall underlined "the incremental nature and decreasing size of the probable developments." If all 47 developments were on stream by 2000 they would be adding 525,000 barrels per day of liquids, around 17 % of total British potential output.
Gas production from probable fields could reach some 1,660 million cubic feet a day in the next decade, around 18 % of total British gas production, the analysts said.
Total capital expenditure to develop the 47 projects will be around GBP 5 billion ($ 8 billion), they added, down 31 % from the forecast GBP 7.2 bn for last year's group of 50 probable developments.
The new projects will mostly be developed using sub-sea wells tied in to existing infrastructure, since their small size makes stand-alone production facilities uneconomic, the report said. "Incremental and more marginal near-field potential is being brought forward for development in order to fill available storage and even to extend the economic producing life of a few more mature fields," it said.

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