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General: Plenty Life In North Sea - Kemp

Posted on 28.01.2006 - 03:22 EST in GENERAL NEWS by ginamc

This Is North Scotland in Association with The Press and JournalA Leading oil and gas economist has given an upbeat prediction of prospects for the UK North Sea.

Alex Kemp, professor of petroleum economics at Aberdeen University, forecast that 24billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) could be produced from the area up to 2030; even if the average price of a barrel of oil over the period was no more than 30.

Mr Kemp, speaking about the industry's future potential at the 12th Overview of North Sea Oil and Gas Industry conference in Aberdeen, said the potential was still substantial.

It was acknowledged that production had been declining since 1999, but detailed modelling showed there were many more fields to be developed, he added. Prof Kemp said: "At present there are over 250 fields in production, but in five to eight years time I would expect to see more than 300 fields in production; albeit some will be very small.

"Our modelling projects that in a scenario of oil at 30 a barrel another 24billion boe could be produced by 2030. If oil was 40 a barrel, production could rise to 25billion boe."

The Government and industry body Pilot has set the industry the target of continuing to produce 3million boe per day (boepd) until 2010. The economist added: "We believe this is really quite challenging, but it could be met, however, this would depend on all the initiatives which have been taken bearing fruit.

"That includes bringing fallow fields into play, making access to existing infrastructure easier and less expensive, and on good stewardship of mature fields. We will also need to see a large number of small fields developed and incremental projects carried out."

Mr Kemp is also forecasting that, by 2020, the UK North Sea could still be producing 2million boepd and, by 2030, 1million boepd.

Around 50 delegates were attracted to the two-day conference at the university's King's College Centre. The annual event is designed to give non-technical, non-oil and gas professionals a better understanding of the oil and gas sector.

Former UKOOA director John Wils, chaired the event, which he described as extremely useful. He said a presentation from BP on decommissioning showed what a huge challenge lay ahead, and that all of the technology required was not yet available. Mr Wils said this emphasised that the infrastructure in place should be used as much as possible to push decommissioning back.

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Source: The Press & Journal
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