A handful of firms have been awarded blocks in a specific offshore licensing round to develop the Greater Buchan Area in the North Sea.
The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) launched the round by asking firms to look at wider plans, rather than a single offshore field in the Moray Firth area.
Jersey Oil and Gas, Decipher Developments and a joint operation from Talon Petroleum and ONE-Dyas were awarded blocks (see below).
The round is the first to be carried out by the OGA focussed on a single “area plan” within the North Sea, with the focus on developing a series of smaller fields in tandem to improve their economics.
Scott Robertson, Central North Sea Area manager at the OGA said: “The resulting commendable level of engagement between operators and high quality applications enabled us to make awards confident that the right assets are going to be in the right hands to deliver the optimal MER development of the Greater Buchan area.”
The awards were made to:
Block 14/30b Talon/ONE-Dyas
Block 20/4c Jersey Oil and Gas
Blocks 20/5d & 21/1a Jersey Oil and Gas
Block 21/2a Decipher Developments
Despite only five of the 11 blocks originally on offer being awarded, petroleum economist Alex Kemp of Aberdeen University said the results were “encouraging” given the need for a wider outlook by applicants for this round.
Two of the awards are going straight to “Second Term” which means they are likely to progress to development.
Professor Kemp said these are examples where new technology plays a role in helping to develop (or redevelop) fields which may otherwise be decommissioned.
He added: “The number of blocks put on offer are 11 for this particular area where the companies were required to take into account not only one field that they might have their eyes on but to keep it in the context of an area plan.
“The announcement that two of the awards were second term is encouraging in itself.”
Professor Kemp is currently researching the importance of developing small fields as “clusters”, which can often drive up their attractiveness for developers.
He added: “When you develop fields in a cluster the economics can make them much more attractive. That features in the area plans and the idea of developing a cluster of fields with infrastructure not far away.
“For licensing, the idea of looking at it not from the perspective of a single field but as part of a potential cluster should become more and more common.”