Bosses at BP were bullish about the future of the Clair field, west of Shetland, after the oil major reported soaring first-half profits yesterday.
BP said the field had “potential for significant future growth” as partners weigh up a potential third phase of development, known as Clair South.
A front end engineering design could come next year, with a final investment decision expected around 2021, BP said.
The second phase, Clair Ridge, is scheduled to come on stream the fourth quarter of 2018, targetting 640 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe).
It involved the construction of two bridge-linked platforms, a process completed in 2016.
Production from phase one got under way in 2005 with the aim of delivering 300m barrels.
According to initial estimates, the field has more than 7 billion barrels in place, albeit in a highly complex and fractured reservoir.
BP has also moved to expand its production in the US, with an £8bn acquisition of BHP Billiton’s shale assets.
BP chief executive Bob Dudley said the transaction would “high grade and reposition” the firm’s US business.
The company intends to make up to £4.6bn worth of new divestments, mainly in the upstream segment, after it completes the deal.
Several oil majors have revealed plans to sell UK offshore fields, but BP is investing in a bid to double North Sea production to about 200,000 boe per day by 2020.
The firm has struck a deal to increase its interests in Clair to 45.1% from 28.6%, through the acquisition of a 16.5% stake from US firm ConocoPhillips.
In April, BP committed to developing the Alligin and Vorlich are satellite fields in the UK North Sea.
At the same time, BP is selling its stakes in the Bruce assets to Serica Energy.
Mr Dudley said: “We continue to grow our gas and advantaged oil portfolio in the upstream. We have a strong set of major projects out to 2021, driving growth in the near-
term and creating deep optionality into the next decade. I can’t remember when it has looked this good.”
BP chalked up first-half, pre-tax profits totalling £6.7 billion, up 190% year-on-year, while revenues increased to £111bn from £86bn.
Upstream production climbed 5.2% to 2.5 million boe per day.
Buoyed by the improvement, BP is increasing its dividend 2.5% to 7.81p per share, the first rise since the third quarter of 2014.
Payments linked to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 totalled £1.8bn in the first half.