UK Energy Secretary Expects 28 New Fields on UKCS in 2013
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UK Energy Secretary Expects 28 New Fields on UKCS in 2013

The UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey confirmed at a meeting in Parliament Wednesday night that the government expects around 28 new oil and gas fields on the UK Continental Shelf to get approval this year, following the approval of 29 projects in 2012.

Speaking at the British Oil & Gas Industry All Party Parliamentary Group at its annual reception at Westminster Palace, which was attended by Rigzone, Mr Davey reiterated the UK government’s support for the UK oil & gas industry.

"Oil and gas will form an integral part of the UK energy mix for decades to come. Over 70 percent of the UK's primary energy demand may still be filled by oil and gas into the 2040s. With 20 billion barrels or more still to be drawn from the UK’s North Sea fields, having an indigenous source helps prevent overreliance on imports from more volatile parts of the world," Mr Davey said.

"So the UK oil and gas industry is a vitally important strategic resource now and over the next half century, to help fulfill our energy needs and as a contribution to the UK’s energy security."

Davey illustrated how the UK government has been acting to encourage investment and innovation in the oil and gas sector.

"Introducing, for instance, new field allowances West of Shetland; extending the small fields allowance; and putting in place new allowances for shallow-water gas fields."

The result of this has seen the level of investment in new oil and gas fields increase significantly in recent years, the Energy Secretary pointed out.

"The level of investment in new oil and gas projects sanctioned in 2011 was over 10 times the amount of 2009. 18 projects with a total value of $20.5 billion (GBP 13 billion) were approved. In 2012, 29 projects [were] approved with capital expenditure of over $17.3 billion (GBP 11 billion). In 2013, we are already expecting around 28 new fields to get approval."

Also at the meeting was Oil & Gas UK Chief Executive Malcolm Webb, who commented in his own speech: "We welcome the Coalition government’s new long-term approach to the UK oil and gas industry which is already reaping rewards for the British economy... With improvements to the tax regime as a result of better engagement with the Treasury, no less than 30 new offshore oil and gas developments were approved in the last twelve months.

"Furthermore, 167 new licences to explore for petroleum in UK offshore waters were awarded in the latest licensing round. This upturn is set to continue and presents excellent business opportunities right across our world-class supply chain to the benefit of the UK’s energy security, balance of trade and tax revenues. Most importantly at this time however, it has, as predicted, resulted in thousands of new and well paid jobs."

Statoil said in December that its recent decision to go ahead with its $7 billion-plus Mariner heavy oil field in the UK North Sea was positively affected by the expansion of the UK's Ring Fence Expenditure Supplement – a measure taken by the UK government to support investment in marginal fields.