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BP to invest $1billion in North Sea oil and gas project

06 August 2015

A $1billion (£670m) investment by BP in the North Sea Eastern Trough Area Project (ETAP) should extend production by 15 years through to 2030, the oil major announced on July 5. ETAP is a network of nine oil fields, 150 miles east of Aberdeen, which produce up to 120,000 barrels day between them.

Stock image
Stock image

Deirdre Michie, chief executive of industry body Oil and Gas UK, said the organisation was pleased to welcome BP’s announcement.

“According to figures from the Department for Energy, the country’s demand for oil and gas, critical for our transport and heating and powering our homes, is set to remain unchanged until 2030 at least.

“It is encouraging to see the continuing investment BP is making in its North Sea assets and projects to deliver a secure indigenous supply of energy for the country.

“Given the harsh business environment upstream oil and gas companies currently face, with the oil price more than halved since this time last year, industry as a whole is putting a great deal of effort into improving the performance of its assets.”

BP North Sea regional president Trevor Garlick added: “ETAP holds significant potential and we are working to ensure its reliability, efficiency and long-term competitiveness. This will secure the future of the field until 2030 and beyond.”

The investment follows the news that oil production in the UK is likely to increase for the first time in 15 years. The newly-opened Golden Eagle field, which began producing oil last year at a rate of up to 18,000 barrels a day, is partly responsible.

Despite the anticipated increase in production, the UK's oil and gas output has fallen from 130,000,000 tonnes a year in 1995 to less than 40,000,000 in 2014 and a slump in the value of oil has led to industry-wide cutbacks.

A drop in demand from China, one of the world's largest oil consumers and the booming US shale gas industry has forced down an already weak oil price.

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