The UK Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) awarded contracts for the second government-funded seismic campaign to promote areas of the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) that remain underexplored.
The £20 million campaign will see PGS and WesternGeco in charge of acquiring seismic data from the East Shetland Platform and South West Britain, respectively.
“The UKCS is in a unique position having recovered more than 43 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) to date, yet up to 20 billion boe still remains. The challenge is now for industry to increase exploration drilling in the UKCS and work with OGA to meet our shared target of 50 Exploration and Appraisal wells per year by 2021,” OGA Director of Exploration and Production, Gunther Newcombe, said.
UKCS Seismic Contracts Awarded
The programme will collect between 10,000 and 15,000 kilometres (6,213 and 9,320 miles) of new seismic data from underexplored frontier areas.
The acquisition is expected to start before the end of this month and end in the fourth quarter of the year, with results to be announced during the second quarter of 2017.
PGS Ramford Tethys Offshore Seismic Survey Vessel
The programme is part of a package designed to support the oil and gas sector and includes areas selected by the MER UK Exploration Board.
Frontier Licensing Round to be Held in 2018
According to Newcombe, the programme is critical to “OGA’s plan to revitalise exploration” and follows last year’s programme, which “sparked significant interest in these frontier areas of the UKCS”.
Overall, more than 3,000 downloads are being made of the standard seismic data packages and studies of the areas are being undertaken to provide insight before the next offshore licensing round.
“The 2016 programme is focusing on underexplored frontier areas where no substantial seismic has been acquired in decades. It is expected that these areas will be made available for licensing in the 31st Frontier Licensing Round which will be held in 2018,” he explained.