Voyageur Spirit FPSO

UK boasts improved production efficiency for seven years in a row

Production efficiency on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) has improved for the seventh consecutive year and for 2019 reached 80 per cent, three years ahead of the 2022 target, according to a new report by the UK’s Oil & Gas Authority (OGA).

Voyageur Spirit FPSO in the UK North Sea; Source: Altera

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) on Thursday published the 2019 Production Efficiency report.

Production Efficiency (PE) is a core element of the industry production optimisation and asset stewardship focus which is vital to maximising economic recovery from the UKCS. 

It serves as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for the OGA. The PE KPI target was set at an 80 per cent UKCS Average Production Efficiency by the end of 2022.

The report shows a five percentage point increase on 2018 and reveals that every region of the UKCS reported a rise, except West of Shetland which saw no change.

The increase was driven by a significant 25 per cent reduction in production losses, following a concerted effort by the industry, which compared with 2018, which represented 50 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe).

Other successes include plant losses down by 29 per cent; planned shutdowns ran to schedule with just a 1 per cent overrun on planned time, against 15 per cent overrun in 2018; and every region of the North Sea saw an increase in actual wellhead production from the previous year, except for the Southern North Sea.

Increased production efficiency often corresponds to lower emissions intensity on production facilities and the 23 per cent improvement since 2014 has contributed to around 10 per cent reduction in carbon emissions per barrel of oil produced over the same period.

The report also highlights that 2019 saw a 40 per cent decrease in losses from unplanned shutdowns and a 26 per cent reduction in losses from planned shutdowns.

Furthermore, four categories comprised 50 per cent of all production losses in 2019, these being: planned shutdown, gas system, oil system and reservoir.

Hedvig Ljungerud, OGA Director of Strategy, said: “The sustained rise in production efficiency represents a significant achievement by the industry, which plays an important part in both maximising economic recovery from the UKCS and helping in the drive towards lower emissions intensity.

“The twin challenges of Covid-19 and the fall in commodity price have placed the industry under pressure, but operators’ long-term improvement in production efficiency leaves them in a better position”.