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UK North Sea Oil Production Decline

The streets of Aberdeen are lined with Range Rovers, Porsches and Audis. New business property and residential developments are popping up throughout and round town. It is increase time in Europe’s oil capital. And yet UK North Sea oil manufacturing is in free fall, regardless of report high expenditure.

Figure 1 Within the period 1999 to 2008, sharply rising oil value more than outweighed plummeting manufacturing and the full value of that production saved rising. But with oil price now stabilised and range sure $a hundred-$a hundred and twenty / barrel, a continued fall in production will begin to drag the value of that manufacturing downwards as capital and working costs petrochemical industry countries go up. Knowledge from the BP statistical evaluate of World Energy 2013. Click on on all charts to get a bigger copy.

Oil Subject Decline and Decline Rates
Production from most oil fields begins to decline inside a couple of years of manufacturing starting on account of strain depletion and reserves depletion and ingress of water or gas into the previously oil bearing strata. During the early years of a basin growth new discoveries that come on line will usually more than compensate for decline and production could develop. However, as new discovery charge falls and the quantity of new fields coming on line goes down, decline takes over and might be tough to reverse.

UK oil manufacturing peaked in 1999 and has since declined at an annual fee between 5 and 10% (Determine 2). Nevertheless, in 2011 decline accelerated to an unprecedented 17.9%. A number of things contribute to this (Figure 2) including a rise in taxation on North Sea production made with out warning in March of that year.

Figure 2 Annual decline charges based mostly on information displayed in Figure 1. Occasional main new discipline developments resembling Elgin/Franklin in 2001/02 (1) and Buzzard in 2007/08 (2) arrested declines for under 1 12 months. Main unscheduled subject outages in ageing infrastructure (Schiehallion periodically 2009-2013; Elgin, Franklin and Shearwater in 2012) have contributed to accelerating decline. And a spate of helicopter accidents, some fatal, within the interval 2009-2013, has disrupted production. A larger industry give attention to well being and security following the Macondo blow out in the Gulf of Mexico has also made an influence. An increase in North Sea production taxation introduced in March 2011 added fiscal uncertainty, and positively did no assist (3).

Capital and Working Costs
The decline of UK North Sea oil has continued unabated regardless of file high oil worth and funding. Capital expenditure on new field developments and previous area refurbishments has grown from £5.2 billion in 2008 to a projected £14 billion this yr (Determine 3; information from DECC). A few of the brand new manufacturing from this CAPEX will start to circulation within the years ahead.

Determine 3 Discipline development capital, exploration and appraisal and operating prices for the UK continental shelf, historic and projected (UK Division of Vitality and Climate Change – DECC). 2013 will see record expenditure regardless of oil and gas production continuing its free fall.

Of higher concern for the business is spiralling operating prices. Total OPEX for oil and fuel has near doubled from £4.5 billion in 2004 to £7.8 billion in 2012 while in the same interval each oil and gas production have more than halved (Figure four; knowledge from DECC). These diminishing returns can clearly not continue for ever.

Figure four Plunging manufacturing and spiralling prices spells hassle forward for the UK oil and gas industry. OPEX from DECC, oil and gas production from BP. One billion cubic ft of gasoline (bcf) = zero.19 million barrels of oil equivalent. Word that chart is just not zero scaled.

Influence on Stability of Commerce
UK oil production got severely below method in 1976 and grew strongly for a decade having a profound impact upon the UK’s export / import steadiness in energy. For 20 years, the UK loved a surplus in oil (and fuel) manufacturing providing vitality security and a optimistic contribution to the balance of trade (Figures 5 and 6).

Figure 5 The brand new DECC energy portal is a gold mine of UK energy statistics such because the historical past of oil and oil products imports and exports shown here. petrochemical industry countries Previous to and during World War II (WWII) the UK lacked significant refining capability and depended upon imported refined merchandise. Put up WWII imports of crude oil ballooned presumably matched by enlargement of refining capacity. With the advent of North Sea oil production within the 1970s the UK grew to become an exporter of crude oil and some refined products until 2006 when we as soon as once more became a net importer.

With the onset of decline submit 2000 the UK oil and fuel surplus has been eaten away and since 2005 energy imports have once once more turn out to be the norm and the UK commerce stability in vitality is spiralling into the pink (Figure 6). An energy surplus of £9 billion in 2000 has turned right into a deficit of £21 billion in 2012. The place UK vitality security once lay at our door step within the North Sea we are actually increasingly dependent upon power imports from Norway, Russia, Africa and The Middle East.

Determine 6 This chart, kindly provided by DECC, shows the swing from £9 billion energy surplus to £21 billion energy deficit in solely 12 years. To place this in context, the UK present account deficit for 2012 was £59.Eight billion. About one third of this is right down to spiralling energy imports. The federal government surely has a responsibility to manage this example.

Globally, excessive energy prices have been attributable to the passing of a peak in low-cost typical oil production in 2005-2008. New energy assets coming on stream akin to shale oil and fuel are very expensive to develop Kinetic Energy Petroleum Refinery and produce. They don’t seem to be low-cost. The excessive value of recovering petrochemical industry countries the remainder of North Sea oil reserves is amply demonstrated by Determine 4. Whereas vitality costs are clearly a burden on society, excessive worth is far better than vitality scarcity or no vitality in any respect. The UK authorities, misguided by over zealous attachment to market dogma and by Green advocacy has uncared for the pursuits of the UK population by permitting, indeed encouraging, the demise of indigenous primary power manufacturing. Whilst some renewable energy most actually has a spot in the vitality mix, an vitality policy primarily based on the 2008 Climate Change act with a deal with CO2 reduction strategies completely misses the big picture of offering affordable and safe power for all and defending the most effective pursuits of the UK economic system.

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