Buchan area plan viable without new platform, analyst says

The Buchan Alpha floating production facility being decommissioned alongside Lerwick's quayside
The Buchan Alpha floating production facility being decommissioned alongside Lerwick's quayside

More oil could be pumped from the Greater Buchan Area (GBA) without the costly installation of a new platform or floating production facility, an analyst said.

Ross Cassidy, senior research manager at Wood Mackenzie, described the prize of 300 million barrels of oil as a “material opportunity”.

He believes undeveloped resources could be exploited using facilities currently in the area.

“GBA is surrounded with infrastructure at Golden Eagle, Buzzard, Scott, Forties and Kittiwake, making a tie-back to existing infrastructure possible,” Mr Cassidy said.

“Or, if further volumes are discovered or appraised, a standalone development could be possible. A minimum of 75 million barrels of oil equivalent is likely to be required to be commercially viable.”

The operators of surrounding infrastructure are CNOOC, ConocoPhillips, Apache and Enquest, while Equinor is operator of the nearby Verbier discovery, which will be appraised later this year.

Mr Cassidy added: “The OGA has released a vast amount of data and information in this supplementary round, which should be welcomed. This can only help the long-term goal of maximising economic recovery in the UKCS.

“The Greater Buchan Area holds 300 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe) – this is a material opportunity. To put this in context, the last discovery made in the UK of this scale was Rosebank in 2004 and is larger than the Glengorm discovery. Of course, the GBA volumes are a mix of redevelopment, undeveloped and yet-to-find volumes.”

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