Oil and gas production up, but value down

Oil and gas production in Scotland increased by 21.4% to around 70 million tonnes of oil equivalent in 2015-16 and accounted for 81% of the UK total, according to a report from Scotland’s Chief Statistician.

That’s the largest North Sea production increase in 15 years.

However, despite the increase in production, the sales value of the oil and gas produced in Scotland fell by 23.5% to around £13.4 billion due to sustained low prices.

Operating expenditure (excluding decommissioning) on oil and gas production in Scotland was an estimated £6.8 billion, down 6.7% on the previous year.

Capital expenditure was estimated to be £10.2 billion, down 17.6% on the previous year.

In 2015-16, oil and gas fields in Scotland accounted for 96% of UK crude oil and natural gas liquids production, and 60% of UK natural gas production.

Cabinet Secretary for the Economy Keith Brown said: “Although this remains a difficult time for the industry and its workforce, it is encouraging to note this increase in production as the industry adapts to the current period of low prices.

“Capital investment on oil and gas fields in Scottish waters was £10.2 billion and the approximate sales value of oil and gas produced in Scotland is estimated to be £13.4 billion.

“The UK Government retains control of the main economic and tax levers affecting the North Sea oil industry, though the Scottish Government continues to do all that it can to support the industry, including setting up the Energy Jobs Taskforce that meets today for the 11th time in Aberdeen.

“Our support also includes £24.5 million for increased innovation and business-support measures and the £12 million Transition Training Fund, which offers grants to individuals to support their redeployment through retraining or further education.

“We will also maintain pressure on the Treasury to honour promises made in last March’s budget to use the UK Guarantees Scheme for oil and gas infrastructure to help secure new investment in assets of strategic importance.

“The Scottish Government strongly believes that the North Sea oil and gas sector can have a bright future for years to come. This, however, will continue to require a concerted effort from all stakeholders.”

Lena Wilson, chair of the Energy Jobs Taskforce, said: “The Energy Jobs Taskforce continues to offer significant support to companies and individuals in the oil and gas sector.

“It’s clear that operators and the supply chain have recognised the importance of stronger collaboration, better and more efficient ways of working and seeking opportunities overseas to capitalise on our world-leading skills and experience.

“Our support has reached around 700 companies to date in areas such as business resilience, leadership and innovation and we remain committed to supporting the sector to ensure it remains a key global oil and gas hub for years to come.”