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BP and partners announce $500m Clair field appraisal

02 April 2013

A BP-led consortium is to invest more than $500m (£330m) in an appraisal drilling programme which could lead to further development of a giant Atlantic field. Drilling had already started on the first of five wells planned over the next two years at Clair, west of Shetland. Up to 12 wells could be drilled, depending on initial results.

The field, which is estimated to hold eight billion barrels of oil, was discovered more than 35 years ago, but production did not start until 2005 as the oil is technically difficult to bring ashore. New oil will be pumped by pipeline to Shetland.

BP's partners in the appraisal drilling programme are Shell, ConocoPhillips and Chevron. The company and its partners hope the appraisal programme will lead to a third phase, taking production well beyond 2050.

BP North Sea regional president Trevor Garlick said: "This is a major milestone and a further big commitment to the west of Shetland by BP and its co-venturers. If successful, the appraisal programme could pave the way for a third phase of development at Clair - this is now a real possibility."

Some observers believe that this and other developments in the area could lead to the Atlantic overtaking the North Sea as the UK's biggest oil-producing region within 20 years.

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