Sir Ian spells out his view on the North Sea’s future

North Sea reforms recommended in the Wood Review could become law within weeks
Sir Ian Wood

Sir Ian Wood sought to clarify his views on how much oil is left in the North Sea at awards ceremony in Aberdeen last night.

The former Wood Group chairman’s intervention in the Scottish independence debate caused a political rammy over the nation’s oil and gas resources.

In a guest of honour speech at the Northern Star Business Awards, where he was presented with a lifetime achievement award, he said: “The industry is going through a difficult period, with a very worrying lack of exploration, continuing low production efficiency, seriously damaging high costs and a significant number of offshore assets up for sale.

“One good outcome of the referendum No vote is that two key initiatives – the UK Treasury’s in-depth look at its fiscal policy, with a view to incentivising more investment, and the initiative now known as the Wood Review to establish a new offshore regulator – will both continue apace.

“These should have a very positive impact on investment and activity levels.

“But, however successful these might be, depletion is inevitable and, interestingly, the recent independence debate has for the first time, established the likely oil and gas depletion timetable.

He added: “I spent a lot of my time in the last year and a half on the Oil and Gas Maximising Economic Recovery (Wood) Review – the whole focus of which is to prolong the life of the North Sea.

“I firmly believe its successful implementation, together with some new Treasury-backed fiscal incentives, could achieve an additional 3billion-4billion barrels from our offshore reserves.

“Just to avoid any misunderstanding, this is already built into the 15billion-16.5billionn barrels that I believe is now the likely figure still to come, and now accepted by most of the industry experts.”