Around 400 million additional barrels of oil and gas could be unlocked from the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) through new subsea technology and approaches to field developments, according to Wood Mackenzie and the Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC).

In an attempt to reduce the cost and time to develop small pools by half, 25 organisations joined the ‘Tie-back of the Future’ initiative, which is expected to help generate £3bn of additional value from the UKCS.

The initiative is being carried out under the leadership of OGTC and features operators, supply chain firms, and technology developers. It is focused on creating a circular economy, allowing reuse of subsea equipment after disassembling.

OGTC small pools solution centre manager Chris Pearson said: “Small pools represent a big prize for the UK economy but they each have their own challenges. The tie-back of the future concept is making significant strides to making more of these fields economically viable.

“We are seeing developments in mechanical hot taps, mechanically connected pipelines, multi-use pipelines, the integration of renewable energy systems and unmanned facilities.

“These solutions could transform the development of small pools and extend the economic life of the North Sea.”

“These solutions could transform the development of small pools and extend the economic life of the North Sea.”

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OTGC has so far invested £250,000 in engineering activities as part of the initiative.

Five technology projects are currently underway, with an additional 13 technology proposals in the pipeline.

The OTGC noted that there is potential to extend solutions developed for the UKCS to other basins with marginal fields.

Wood Mackenzie principal analyst Mhairidh Evans said: “As well as providing much-needed new investment, unlocking small pools is key to extending the life of existing infrastructure.”