oil

Offshore oil and Gas industry association, Oil & Gas UK, has revealed that nearly 470 million barrels of oil and gas is expected to be extracted from the North Sea in 2013, which is a five-fold jump on the average over the past three years.

According to the industry body, about two million barrels of oil a day are anticipated to come on stream by 2017, which would mark an increase from 1.5 million in 2013, reported The Telegraph.

Oil & Gas UK has attributed these higher estimates to a major rise in investment in the North Sea, from £11.4bn in 2012 to a record £13bn in 2013.

Oil & Gas chief executive, Malcolm Webb, said the forecast suggests a slump in investment in the North Sea since the 2000s is coming to an end.

The slump was worsened when UK Chancellor George Osborne announced a £2bn tax raid in 2011, which raised marginal tax rates on North Sea operators to up to 81pc.

Webb was quoted by the publication as saying the new incentives for the ‘awkward squad’ fields had ‘commercialised what would have been uncommercial projects’.

"Oil & Gas UK has attributed these higher estimates to a major rise in investment in the North Sea."

In September 2012, Osborne unveiled a new tax measure to support investment in older fields by allowing companies to shield some income from the supplementary charge on their profits.

Under the new measure, companies can shield up to £250m of income in qualifying ‘brown field’ projects or £500m for projects in fields paying Petroleum Revenue Tax, from the 32% supplementary charge rate.

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey said the UK Government’s latest tax relief in oil and gas reserves has attracted billions of pounds worth of projects for British companies and created thousands of new, highly skilled jobs in the country.

During the 2013 Budget, Osborne’s decision to guarantee tax relief on North Sea decommissioning expenditure has been welcomed by leaders of the oil and gas industry in the country.

In February 2013, the UK Government approved a $7bn investment by Norway’s Statoil in the Mariner heavy oil field, which is the largest new offshore development in the UK’s North Sea sector in more than a decade.


Image: The Mariner ultra-heavy oil field is located in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), in the northern North Sea.

Energy