Sturgeon welcomes Statoil North Sea expansion

Hedda Felin

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the North Sea expansion plans of Norwegian multinational Statoil on Monday as she officially opened the firm’s new headquarters in Aberdeen.

Statoil said recently it believes “considerable hydrocarbon resource remains undiscovered’ on the UK Continental Shelf.

“… while we realise that the industry and workforce is going through a difficult time, this investment and expansion from Statoil is a vote of confidence in the North Sea’s future,” said Sturgeon.

“Last week’s oil and gas production statistics demonstrate that the industry is adapting to the current period of low prices, but what the industry must be ready to do is to capitalise when the upturn comes …”

Last week, Scotland’s Chief Statistician said 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 — the largest North Sea production increase in 15 years.

However 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.

Statoil is a major investor in UK energy, including the Mariner oil development offshore Aberdeen, the largest investment on the UK continental shelf in a decade.

Statoil is also investing in offshore wind through the Hywind project — the world’s first floating offshore wind development, off the coast of Peterhead.

Last month, Statoil also agreed to acquire 70% of a licence in the Outer Moray Firth from Jersey Oil & Gas and its partner CIECO Exploration and Production (UK).

Announcing that deal, Statoil said it “has the ambition to be an active explorer on the UKCS with the belief that considerable hydrocarbon resource remains undiscovered.”

Statoil expects to employ up to 200 onshore and up to 500 offshore by 2018.

“Statoil is demonstrating its willingness to diversify through the Hywind and Batwind renewable energy projects, again using the world leading expertise and skills of Scotland’s workforce,” added Sturgeon.

“We are committed to working with firms like Statoil to support Scotland’s mixed energy sector and prepare it for a positive future.”

Hedda Felin, managing director of Statoil Production UK, said: “Statoil has a long term commitment to Scotland and to the UK Continental Shelf, as this new operations centre visibly demonstrates.

“Starting with just a handful of employees in the spring of 2013, Statoil has grown its workforce in Aberdeen to around 140.

“This autumn we will initiate another significant recruitment process, with around 40 open positions to be filled in coming months.”

The Mariner heavy oil field is progressing as planned and Statoil expects to start production in 2018, with production expected for 30 years.