Belfast Telegraph

Oil production increases as industry focuses on efficiency

The UK offshore industry produced 12 million barrels of oil more than expected in the last year, as efficiency rose for its fourth consecutive year.

A report by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) reveals production efficiency on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) has risen to 73%.

Its findings compare the actual amount of fuel produced in 2016 to the theoretic potential of the fields and associated infrastructure, set by looking at previous years.

Gunther Newcombe, OGA operations director, said: "Industry's combined persistence and focus on increased production efficiency in the UKCS has delivered an additional 12 million barrels in the past 12 months.

"There remains more work to be done to meet the OGA and industry's joint production efficiency target of 80%. In 2016, there was the potential to increase UKCS production by 29 million barrels. If these projects were completed, this would have increased UKCS production efficiency by another 3%."

In 2016, 38% of hubs met or exceeded the overall target of 80% for the UKCS, compared to 30% the previous year.

Since 2012 there has been cross industry improvement with 88% of operators increasing in efficiency.

Water injection efficiency increased by 3% in 2016 from 2015, delivering reduced loses and improving production.

Last year there was a potential "prize" of an additional 160,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) a day, equating to 59 million boe a year from all hubs hitting an average production efficiency of 80% in the UKCS.

Mike Tholen, Oil & Gas UK's upstream policy director, said: "Improving production efficiency has been a firm priority for the industry over recent years. Oil & Gas UK set up a special task force to improve performance and to ensure good practice is shared and it is encouraging to see these efforts over the past four years have helped to improve production from existing assets.

"The production efficiency task force is concentrating on improving hub shutdowns, gas compression and terminals' performance to safely minimise operations downtime and maximise flow rates to achieve the target of 80% production efficiency in 2018."