Belfast Telegraph

BP pours £4.5bn into North Sea as it goes searching for more oil

By Graeme Evans

BP said the story of North Sea oil still has a ‘long way to run’ after the company yesterday received the go-ahead for a £4.5bn project.

The second phase of the giant Clair field, west of the Shetland Islands, forms part of £10bn being spent on four projects by BP and its partners from Shell, ConocoPhillips and Chevron over the next five years.

At £4bn, BP's involvement represents its highest level of annual investment ever in the North Sea. BP chief executive Bob Dudley said: “Although it began over 40 years ago, the story of the North Sea oil industry has a long way yet to run.

“BP has produced some five billion barrels of oil and gas equivalent so far from the region and we believe we have the potential for over three billion more.”

At their peak the projects will provide 3,000 jobs and play a part in sustaining the more than 3,500 jobs already existing in BP's North Sea operations.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the Clair Ridge project would provide “a massive boost for jobs and growth”.

Meanwhile, US government regulators have cited BP and two other companies — Transocean and Halliburton — for alleged safety and environmental breaches stemming from last year's Gulf of Mexico rig explosion and massive oil spill which killed 11 people.

The companies have 60 days to appeal against citations issued by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

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