North Sea oil field startups ‘to hit 10-year high’

The UK North Sea is on track for the biggest year of oil and gas field startups in a decade, according to data from Edinburgh-based consultant Wood Mackenzie.

Bloomberg reported that 14 projects with combined peak production of 230,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day will start in the UK North Sea this year.

That would be the most since 2007.

“It’s really the fruits of a very high level of investment in the 2010 to 2014 period,” Mhairidh Evans, senior research analyst for North Sea upstream at Wood Mackenzie, told Bloomberg.

Oil and gas exploration companies are still making important discoveries in the UK North Sea and Total SA’s recent $7.45 billion acquisition of A.P. Moller-Maersk’s oil business is being seen as a huge vote of confidence in the region.

Bloomberg reported that a lack of investment since oil prices plunged is weighing on the outlook for the UK North Sea beyond 2018.

“Really, 2017 is the last year of that tranche of projects” started when oil prices were high, said Evans.

Wood Mackenzie expects the UK continental shelf to produce about 1.9 million barrels equivalent a day of oil and gas on average in 2018.