Offshore drilling

A survey has found that 11 exploration and appraisal wells were drilled in UK continental shelf (UKCS) between 1 January and 31 March this year, indicating a 22% rise in drilling activity compared with the same period in 2011.

However, the report by Deloitte Petroleum Services noted a 15% drop in drilling activity during the final quarter of 2011, as well as a 42% decline in the number of wells spudded during this period, compared with the first quarter in the last five years.

Data from the study also shows that exploration and appraisal activities are still 66% lower than in the first quarter of 2008.

Despite the decline in offshore activity, Deloitte’s analysts said there were signs of a positive year ahead for the oil and gas industry.

Deloitte Petroleum Services Group managing director Graham Sadler said more recent figures for March indicate an increase in drilling, with seven spuds in March compared with four during both January and February.

"The tax relief measures announced by the UK Government in last month’s budget have been welcomed by the industry and this may result in renewed confidence over the course of this year," Sadler said.

Elsewhere in Europe the trend is mixed, with a decrease in activity in Norway and little change elsewhere.

Deal activity in quarter one of 2012 fell 18% compared with the same period of 2011, with a total of 37 deals recorded throughout north-west Europe.

Of those, 60% were on the UKCS, with farm-ins and asset acquisitions remaining the most common type.


Image: 11 exploration and appraisal wells were spudded on the UK continental shelf (UKCS) in the first quarter of 2012. Photo: courtesy of think4photop.