Industry regulator the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has awarded contracts to PGS and WesternGeco for the second UK Government-funded £20m seismic campaign to promote underexplored areas of the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).
PGS’s Nordic Explorer vessel will carry out seismic surveys across the East Shetland Platform, which has the East Orkney Basin, East Fair Isle Basin and Dutch Bank Basin.
Surveys around South West Britain, including the Celtic Sea, Western English Channel, Bristol Channel, St George’s Channel and the Irish Sea will be carried out by WesternGeco’s vessel WG Magellan.
As part of the campaign, new seismic data between 10,000km and 15,000km will be collected from under-explored frontier areas where no substantial seismic has been acquired in decades.
The acquisition is subject to receipt of relevant environmental approvals and is due to begin this month, with closing expected during the fourth quarter of this year.
OGA Exploration and Production director Gunther Newcombe said: “Last year’s programme, which covered the Rockall Trough and Mid-North Sea High areas, sparked significant interest in these frontier areas of the UKCS with more than 3,000 downloads of the standard seismic data packages.
“The UKCS is in a unique position having recovered more than 43 billion boe to-date, yet up to 20 billion boe still remains.
“The challenge is now for industry to increase exploration drilling in the UKCS and work with OGA to meet our shared target of 50 exploration and appraisal wells per year by 2021.”
This acquisition programme forms part of a package of measures, which have been announced by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron in January this year and designed to support the oil and gas sector.
The areas were selected following engagement with industry and endorsed by the MER UK Exploration board, which will be made available for licensing in the 31st Frontier Licensing Round planned to be held in 2018.
WesternGeco Marine vice-president Patrick Legh-Smith said: “The survey shall be completed using Q-Marine point-receiver seismic technology with broadband techniques for enhanced imaging.”
Image: Seismic data will be gathered between 10,000km and 15,000km from under-explored frontier areas. Photo: courtesy of UK Government.