Scotland business

Oil and gas production efficiency in UK increases for fifth year in a row

Oil rig

Oil and gas production efficiency in the UK has increased for a fifth year in a row, according to an industry report.

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) said an additional 12 million barrels of oil equivalent were produced.

Production efficiency on the UK Continental Shelf rose to 74% in 2017 - a 1% improvement from the year before.

The authority said it helped contribute an additional 32,000 barrels of oil equivalent every day.

Production efficiency is the volume of oil and gas extracted in a year as a percentage of the potential maximum amount that is thought to be economically viable.

The report takes both the North and Southern North Sea into account, with three out of five regions seeing improvements in efficiency compared to the previous year.

In March, Oil and Gas UK revealed exploration in the North Sea sector was at its lowest level since the early 1970s, with only 94 wells drilled last year.

'Challenging year'

This was the first time the number had fallen below 100 since 1973.

The OGA's head of performance, planning and reporting, Loraine Pace, said: "I'm really pleased that PE has continued to improve year on year in the UKCS.

"The report shows that industry has worked hard to deploy new technologies and shift towards efficiency cultures which has helped to achieve the 1% improvement."

The Forties Pipeline System (FPS), which carries 40% of North Sea oil and gas, was shut down for two weeks in December last year to repair a crack to the onshore section in Aberdeenshire.

Matt Nicol, chairman of the Production Efficiency Task Force (PETF), said the "challenging" end to the year meant to results were "positive news".

He added: "Industry's and individuals' hard work and focus on best practice and new technology is sustaining these efficiency improvements, and I see many companies and people working together to deliver tangible progress."

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