Energy Minister Brian Wilson today gave his formal approval to the development of the first phase of the West of Scotland Clair oil field bringing the total capital investment in the North Sea to £1.5 billion over the past two months.
Speaking at the Aberdeen Maritime Museum to an audience of industry representatives, the Minister officially signed-off the Phase 1 field development plans to operator BP and other partners in the project.
The Clair oil field is the largest discovered, undeveloped United Kingdom Continental Shelf (UKCS) resource. It is located 75km west of the Shetland Isles, in water depths of up to 150m.
The remote location has provided a severe test to the companies involved in the project and Mr Wilson praised the project team effort, led by BP.
‘With a project value of £650million, this approval will provide a great boost for the UK,’ said Mr Wilson. ‘In total, Clair will create around a 1,000 jobs, 850 of these in construction and the rest offshore.’
‘In years to come this first phase of development will supply almost 300 millions of barrels of oil making it the largest development since the Elgin-Franklin project, which was approved in April 1997,’ added Mr Wilson. ‘Dependent on Phase 1 results, further development of remaining field areas could follow. It will also create another link between the ‘West of Shetlands’ and ‘East of Shetlands’ areas’
Mr Wilson said that the approval of Clair came at a time of good news for the UKCS. He revealed that the combined capital investment of developments over the last eight weeks, including Clair, amounted to an investment of almost £1.5 billion.
He stressed that UK companies had a unique opportunity to show that they were open to best-in-class innovative ideas and were able to ‘deliver the goods’ and win work on the Clair project when in competition with Europe and the US.