Projects target North Sea exploration boost

November 19, 2014

A bid to boost exploration rates in the UK North Sea has seen the launch of two new initiatives, including a move to re-assess the potential of the central North Sea. 

The first is an industry-wide review, led by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), of exploration wells drilled in the Central North Sea 2003-2013, an area deemed to hold the largest remaining potential on the UK Continental Shelf.

The second project will be a study, developed by the British Geological Survey, of the Palaeozoic potential of the UKCS that will draw on data from operators and contractors.

The two projects were announced in a keynote speech by Oonagh Werngren (pictured), industry body Oil & Gas UK’s operations director, at the PETEX exploration and production conference in London yesterday (November 18). 

She said: “There is an urgent need to increase the success rate of exploration in the UKCS where well costs, as well as operational costs, continue to rise.”

According to seismic acquisition and processing firm CGG, although the Central North Sea (CNS) is a mature basin, it is still rich in opportunities for the development and discovery of new fields, as the area is notoriously challenging for seismic imaging, especially in the deep high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) part of the Central Graben. 

CGG has recently released its reprocessed merged Cornerstone dataset, which it says delivers an unprecedented volume of high-quality anisotropic broadband PSDM data over a huge area of the Central Graben of the central North Sea, including the HPHT area. 

Read more: CGG sets out central North Sea opportunities

The two new projects evolved from a scoping study for a 21st Century Exploration Road Map for the North Sea. Their findings will also feed into the Road Map, which aims to improve exploration success through developing a systematic analysis of the key exploration plays of the North Sea.

Read more: Exploring the under explored. 

“The 21st Century Exploration Road Map is one of several  projects being driven by the PILOT Exploration Task Force, which works together with DECC to revitalize exploration and maximize the economic recovery of oil and gas resources from the UKCS. It aligns with the recommendations put forward by the recent Wood Report, which identifies the urgent need to evaluate new and unexplored resources and create an up-to-date perspective of the petroleum geology of the UKCS together with tools to ensure more effective sharing of data across the industry.”



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