UK petroleum reserves ‘to last 20 years or more’

The UK’s petroleum reserves remain at a “significant level” which could sustain production for at least the next 20 years — and beyond that if additional undeveloped resources can be matured.

The Oil and Gas Authority’s (OGA) report “UK Oil and Gas: Reserves and Resources” shows that overall remaining recoverable reserves and resources range between 10 to 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe).

To date, 43.5 billion boe has been produced from the UK and UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

The OGA estimates that UK probable reserves are approximately 5.7 billion boe “and these alone, based on current production forecasts and not taking into account potential future exploration successes” have the capacity to sustain production for at least the next two decades.

“However, there is a significant opportunity to add to these reserves by maturing the UK’s considerable contingent resources,” said the report.

“The OGA estimates there are 7.4 billion boe of proved undeveloped resources.

“Much of this resource is in mature developed areas and under consideration for development.

“This will require substantial investment in new field developments and incremental projects.”

The OGA said replacement of proven and probable reserves remains a concern.

In 2016 approximately 600 million boe were produced but only 80 million boe of contingent resources were matured to reserves.

Exploration success in 2016 helped add 210 million boe to the contingent resources.

The OGA’s operations director, Gunther Newcombe said: “The UKCS is a world class petroleum province with 10 to 20 billion barrels of remaining discovered and undiscovered potential.

“The OGA has an important role in helping to steward this resource base, revitalise exploration and maximise economic recovery, working closely with industry and government.

“Future success of the basin requires attracting additional investment, implementing technology and company collaboration on new and existing developments.”