On the 28th of March, it was made public that an oil consortium led by BP Plc would plow as much as $500 million in an appraisal drilling project in the Clair field near Shetlands Islands. The investment is expected to bring many benefits to North Sea oil sector.
Investment in Clair field
BP Plc underlined that the oil consortium had already dedicated a staggering sum of $10 billion to development of the Clair field. Apart from this hefty sum, BP Plc and its partners are ready to spend additional $500 million for the first five appraisal wells in their program. The plan is aimed at evaluating the chance of developing another North Sea oil field, according to a statement by BP Plc.
As it was noted by the consortium led by BP Plc, companies had already started working on the first well. All five drilling wells are expected to start working by the next two years. On the 28th of March, BP Plc , which holds approximately 29 percent in the Clair field, highlighted that even up to 12 well might be drilled. However, the future progress of plans depends on initial results of the evaluation. Certainly, oil companies are more and more confident about their technological abilities, thus BP and its partners decided to get more involved in the project in the Clair field.
Among BP Plc’s partners in the Clair investment are Royal Dutch Shell Plc, ConocoPhillips Co. and Chevron Corp. The consortium is much interested in continuing their expansion as there is a growing willingness to start a third phase which would enable production beyond 2050.
The plan to drill in the Clair field is one in a string of new investments in the North Sea. Not too long time ago, Norway’s Statoil ASA informed that it would invest as much as $7 billion in the North Sea Mariner oil field. But also other companies, including Talisman Energy, decided to take the same steps.
Ed Davey, UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, once noted: "Greater Clair proves there is still a long future for oil and gas production in the North Sea." And indeed, it is true as more and more companies are greatly interested in investing in the field.
Not too long ago, back in 2005, the Clair field started to bear fruits as first phase facilities began its operation. According to plans, the first-phase objects will be in use until 2028. As for the second phase production, it is to commence in 2016 as it is estimated that the field would generate around 120,000 barrels per day. According to projections, the Clair field has staggering 8 billion barrels of oil, thus it is not surprising that it is commonly named as a “monster”. The expansion in the Clair field is, however, very difficult and technologically demanding. Despite the fact that the field was discovered more than three decades ago, the production started in 2005 (sic!)
Certainly, the recently-announced investment of $500 million is a breakthrough in history of the Clair field. Yet the investment is in line with other oil companies’ activities in UK oil fields, namely, in the North Sea. Indeed, the UK expects an increased interest in investment in the North Sea. According to a survey by the Oil & Gas UK, the country will witness a £13 billion investment in the North Sea in 2013.