Focus on assets has been ‘vital’ in North Sea’s improved performance, says OGA

Gunther Newcombe, operations director at the Oil and Gas Authority
Gunther Newcombe, operations director at the Oil and Gas Authority
Opinion by Gunther NewcombeOperations director, Oil and Gas Authority

The focus of industry and the OGA on asset stewardship has played a vital role in the turnaround of performance across the UKCS.

Production levels over the past three to four years have been maintained at around 1.6 million barrels of oil equivalent per day and there have been sustained improvements in production efficiency, now at 75%, with unit operating costs being maintained at £12 per barrel.

Collaboration within industry is also improving, and there is also a marked improvement in commercial behaviours.

In 2015 the OGA rationalised numerous industry surveys  into one annual standardised UK Stewardship Survey, with survey data used for performance benchmarking and the issue of comprehensive reports, both of which have been openly shared with industry.

In 2016 the OGA published an asset stewardship strategy accompanied by 10 expectations, which were jointly developed by industry.

The intention was to set out what good oilfield practice should look like in order to improve performance and help deliver MER UK.

In mid-2019 the OGA intends to publish a refreshed set of 10 stewardship expectations, again developed jointly with industry, which in addition to being more specific in nature also include two new expectations covering commercial behaviours and maximising well value.

The OGA will be communicating and applying these refreshed expectations during the second half of 2019 using an intensive engagement programme, consisting of events such as Offshore Europe and stewardship meetings with operators and licence holders.