Wilson welcomes £650m offshore investment

The UK Energy Minister, Brian Wilson, has welcomed signs of increased activity in the UK oil sector, including today’s announcement by BP of a £650 million proposed development.

In particular, he said there was now a strong response to the government’s fallow fields initiative with ten proposals going forward and another seven pending.

Mr Wilson chaired a meeting of PILOT – the joint Industry and Government forum for the offshore sector – where emerging news of activity levels was revealed.

BP and its co-venturers are seeking DTI approval to develop phase one of the Clair oil and gas field at a cost of around £650 million.

‘It is vital for the future of the UK that we make the most of our natural resources and I am delighted that BP has brought development of Clair closer than ever before,’ said Mr Wilson. ‘The potential west of Shetland has been known for some time and further development of the province is eagerly awaited.

‘Clair, once it proceeds to the implementation stage, will make a significant contribution to achieving PILOT’s investment targets. It will also boost the UK’s offshore supply chain,’ he added.

A number of DTI and PILOT initiatives are reportedly beginning to yield favourable results with a higher number of projects coming forward for development.

Since last June’s Fallow Review, the DTI has approved four developments and received a further six plans for approval. The DTI is also aware of plans for seven more fallow discoveries that could be submitted early next year.

The Progressing Partnership Workgroup (PPWG) presented interim reports to PILOT today. All parties involved are said to have demonstrated their commitment to bringing about the kind of cultural and behavioural changes required to deliver the PILOT targets.

PPWG, in conjunction with PILOT’s Stimulating Exploration workgroup, is said to be working towards a systematic reduction of fallow blocks, ensuring that licences are in the hands of operators willing to invest in them.

Another joint initiative on brownfield development is looking to stimulate production of an estimated 3 billion barrels of additional oil from mature fields.

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