30th Offshore Licensing Round awards present small pools opportunity

We're working with industry to develop and deploy new technology that can unlock the big prize in UKCS small pools.

The round may help to unlock around a dozen small pools containing a central estimate of 320 million barrels of oil equivalent.

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The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has offered for award 123 licences over 229 blocks or part-blocks to 61 companies in the 30th Offshore Licensing Round. These successful awards act as a strong platform for future exploration and production across the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) and can help transform exploration activity levels.

The round may help to unlock around a dozen undeveloped marginal fields, or small pools, containing a central estimate of 320 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) of resource.

It is estimated the UKCS currently has around 1.5 billion boe (source: Woodmac) of resource in potentially commercial small pools, many of which were previously considered to be too small or technically challenging. The Technology Centre’s ‘Tie-back of the Future’ initiative, which aims to both half the cost and half the time to develop small pools, would make an additional 400 million barrels economic.

The initiative brings together 25 operators, supply chain firms and technology developers to transform the approach to developing marginal fields. Creating a circular economy, whereby subsea equipment is designed for disassembly and reuse, is at the heart of the initiative.

To date, the Technology Centre has invested £250,000 in engineering activity to develop the initiative, five technology projects are underway, 13 technology proposals are in the pipeline and six integrated studies have been completed. Industry support from operating and supply chain companies is required to make the Tie-back of the Future a reality.

Click here for for more information, videos and presentations from Subsea Expo on our activity to unlock small pools.

Chris Pearson, Small Pools Solution Centre Manager for the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, said:

“The outcomes of the 30th Licencing Round are very promising and it’s encouraging to see almost 100 applications from a wide range of operating companies. We are focused on significantly reducing the life cycle cost of field developments across the UKCS through the development and deployment of new technology. We look forward to working with the successful applicants to help unlock the potential in the 30th round fields.

“We are here to help the industry transform the approach to offshore field developments and want to see the swift deployment of technologies to help unlock these discoveries. The UKCS has around 10% of the world’s small pools and with 27 billion barrels in small pools globally, there is huge potential to take solutions developed here to other basins with marginal fields, driving international growth and export opportunities.”