Hundreds of millions more barrels of oil could be extracted from the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) from a selected number of large oil fields.
That’s according to the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA), which suggests this can be done by increasing the recovery factor (RF), i.e. the overall proportion of oil expected to be extracted from the UKCS.
It adds over time, RF efficiency has increased but with field complexity also rising, the overall RF has changed very little.
Its latest report states the current RF forecast is around 43%, which means more than half of the oil that has been discovered is left within the reservoir.
By looking at the potential that exists in a small number of selected fields, the OGA estimates that an additional 900 million barrels of oil could potentially be produced through increases to RF as a result of improved asset stewardship.
It found one potential cause of a lower than expected RF is if a percentage of well stock is shut in for a significant time. This leads to a reduction in overall reservoir access, lowering recovery in many cases.
The OGA has developed an RF benchmark to assist with improving it by 2020 and will use it with industry to identify and quantify opportunities for improvement.
Around £4.6 billion of mergers and acquisitions took place in the UK’s oil and gas sector in the first half of this year.