BP shows commitment to North Sea following new license awards

UK oil major BP has been awarded seven licenses, five as operator and two as partner, in the 30th Offshore Licensing Round, announced by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) on Wednesday. 

Namely, the UK’s regulator Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has offered for award 123 licenses over 229 blocks or part-blocks to 61 companies in the 30th Offshore Licensing Round.

The BP-operated licenses are the Skua field adjacent to BP’s Marnock field, which is part of the Eastern Trough Area Project (ETAP) hub, a license adjacent to BP’s Capercaillie and Vorlich discoveries, a license in the Northern North Sea and two licenses in Quadrant 208 west of Shetland, the oil major said.

The award includes 26 blocks with commitments to drill one well in the Northern North Sea and shoot 3D seismic across the Quadrant 208 area.

One of the non-operated licenses is operated by Maersk (Total) and is adjacent to the giant Culzean field in which BP has a 32% stake. The other non-operated license is operated by Equinor and is located on the East Shetland Platform.

It is worth reminding that Equinor has been awarded nine new licences in UK’s 30th Offshore Licensing round, eight as operator.

Ariel Flores, BP North Sea Regional President said: “This is another strong result for BP’s exploration program in the North Sea with 26 blocks and commitments to one well and an extensive seismic program. It builds on our success in the 29th Round last year which represented BP’s largest acreage award since the late 1990s.

“BP continues on a path of positive momentum in the North Sea as we bring on major projects; explore at higher levels than in recent times; and rapidly develop smaller fields located next to our established hubs. All of this is targeted at realizing our ambitions to efficiently grow production and cash flows.

“As we prepare for important new production from our Clair Ridge project later in 2018, these license awards, combined with our other recent positive activity, further demonstrates BP’s commitment to the North Sea.”

The 30th Licensing Round awards follow an announcement in March that BP will be participating in two exploration wells in 2018 with Equinor as operator; the Pip prospect in the Fladen Ground Spur area and the Bigfoot prospect 30 kilometers south of the Mariner field.

In April, BP announced it is to quickly develop two new oil fields in the North Sea. The Alligin and Vorlich developments are expected to produce 30,000 barrels gross of oil equivalent a day at peak production.

And in January, BP announced two new discoveries in the North Sea at Capercaillie in the Central North Sea and Achmelvich west of Shetland.

In related news, BP has said it will cut around three percent of workers from its 18000-people strong Upstream business. This is around 540 workers.