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BP has announced plans to invest $1bn to help extend the life of its UK North Sea assets.

The company’s latest investment, which is aimed at boosting output from oil fields located off the eastern coast of Scotland, comes at a time when oil companies are seeking to exit the ageing basin.

BP said in a statement that the investment in the Eastern Trough Area Project (ETAP) would secure the future of the field for a further 15 years to 2030.

ETAP is a network of nine smaller oil and gas fields in the Central North Sea covering an area up to 35km in diameter.

Six of the total nine different fields are operated by BP and another three are operated by Shell.

The fields produce 125,000 barrels of oil a day, and are a mix of geology, chemistry, technology and equity arrangements.

BP regional president Trevor Garlick said: "These are challenging times for the industry and we are having to make hard choices."

"These are challenging times for the industry and we are having to make hard choices."

As part of its investment plans, the company will primarily focus on the west of Shetland, as well as central North Sea.

In these areas, the British oil major plans to invest in new developments such as Clair Ridge and Quad204.

Welcoming BP’s investment announcement industry body Oil & Gas UK chief executive Deirdre Michie said: "According to figures from the Department for Energy, the country’s primary demand for oil and gas, critical for our transport and heating and powering our homes, is set to remain unchanged until 2030 at least.

"It is encouraging to see the continuing investment BP is making in its North Sea assets and projects to deliver a secure indigenous supply of energy for the country."


Image: BP’s world headquarters in St James’s, City of Westminster, London. Photo: courtesy of WhisperToMe.