United Kingdom

London’s £10 daily “T-charge” for most polluting vehicles now in effect; partnership with Turing Institute

London’s £10 daily “ T-Charge ” (toxicity), aimed at the oldest, most polluting vehicles on London roads, is now in effect. The T Charge applies mainly to diesel and gasoline vehicles registered before 2006. The T-Charge (officially known as the Emissions Surcharge) operates on top of (and during the same operating times as) the Congestion Charge (Monday to Friday 7am-6pm), so it will cost £21.50 to drive in the zone if a vehicle is affected. Drivers can check the status of their vehicles online. The minimum emissions standards for avoiding the T-Charge are Euro 4/IV for both gasoline and diesel vehicles and Euro 3 for motorized tricycles and quadricycles. A small number of vehicles manufactured […]

UK North Sea Oil Faces Quickening Decline If No Brexit Deal

17 Oct 2017   United Kingdom

The UK oil and gas industry faces a faster decline if Prime Minister Theresa May fails to agree to a trade deal with the European Union. (Bloomberg) — The U.K. oil and gas industry faces a faster decline if Prime Minister Theresa May fails to agree to a trade deal with the European Union, as restrictions on the movement of workers and equipment would increase costs. A “no deal” Brexit, which has become a stronger possibility after talks ended in a deadlock this week, could restrict investments in the North Sea, hastening the existing decline of the aging basin, said Michael Bradshaw, professor of global energy at Warwick Business School. Oil & Gas U.K., the lobby group, has warned that the industry’s cost of trade could almost double if the country reverts to World Trade Organization rules. The U.K. North Sea was already well past its peak when crude […]

British government unveils green spending plans

13 Oct 2017   United Kingdom

The British government said Thursday it would spend more than $3 billion on new energy systems that could help it meet obligations for a low-carbon economy. The British government is legally bound to a commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions, which are counted as the main contributors to climate change, by 80 percent of their 1990 levels by 2050. The government said Thursday it would invest and spend around $3.1 billion through 2021 on new energy systems, nuclear power and renewable energy strategies to help meet its 2050 target. British Minister for Climate Change and Industry Claire Perry said that emissions last year were 42 percent lower than the 1990 benchmark and 6 percent lower than in 2015. At the […]

UK’s Shale Gas Sector Insiders Refute University Study

12 Oct 2017   United Kingdom

Industry insiders claim that the fledgling industry will evolve successfully despite hurdles. A new report by the University of Edinburgh, which claims that output from offshore fields in the North Sea will be depleted within a decade , is causing alarm and division within the UK. A study of output from offshore fields estimates that close to 10 percent of the UK’s original recoverable oil and gas remains – about 11 percent of oil and 9 percent of gas resources. Most of the UK’s liquids production occurs in the central and northern sections of the North Sea. The report also throws doubt on those in the country that want to offset these loses by tapping into the country’s shale gas resources. The analysis claims that fracking will “barely” be viable in the UK, especially in Scotland, because of a lack of sites with suitable geology. Other problems, according to […]

Statoil drills two dry UK wells, makes one discovery

9 Oct 2017   United Kingdom

Statoil’s exploration campaign off Britain yielded one discovery and two dry wells this year, the company said on Monday. Results of the Mariner Segment 9 and Jock Scott wells were disappointing, while the third, a sidetrack to Statoil’s Verbier well in the outer Moray Firth, proved at least 25 million barrels of oil. “Whilst the results of the other two exploration wells were disappointing, we are convinced of the remaining, high-value potential on the UK continental shelf,” Jenny Morris, Statoil’s vice president for UK exploration, said in a statement. “The Verbier result certainly gives us the confidence and determination to continue our exploration efforts,” she added. The preliminary results suggest that the Verbier discovery could hold from 25 million to 130 million barrels, […]

Aston Martin CEO: UK Fossil Fuel Ban “Meaningless”

27 Sep 2017   United Kingdom

The UK government’s July announcement that it will be banning the sale of petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles by 2040 is “meaningless” to Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer. Government officials are certainly not automotive engineers and are missing the mark, he said. “Policy makers should not try to be engineers,” Palmer said. His conclusion was that the July announcement banning fossil fuel vehicles by 2040 was “just spin” and doesn’t stand a chance of being achieved. China is now becoming one of four countries joining the UK in stopping fossil-fuel powered vehicles on its roads, along with France and Norway. Xin Guobin, the country’s vice minister of industry and information technology, announced in a speech earlier this month that regulators are working on a timeline for phasing out the sales and production of the gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles. Other countries central to the global auto market are considering heading toward […]

UK oil and gas reserves will expire in 10 years

20 Sep 2017   United Kingdom

The UK’s oil industry could be entering its final decade of production, according to new research. A study of output from offshore fields estimates about 10% of the nation’s original recoverable oil and gas remains. If the predictions are correct, the UK would soon have to import all the oil and gas it needs, scientists have warned. Academics behind the work are now urging the UK Government to use more renewable energy sources, particularly offshore wind and advanced solar energy technologies. Professor Roy Thompson from the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, who led the study, said: “The UK urgently needs a bold energy transition plan, instead of trusting to dwindling fossil fuel reserves and possible fracking. “We must act now and drive the necessary shift to a clean economy with integration between energy systems. “There needs to be greater emphasis on renewables, energy storage and improved insulation and […]

BP Cuts North Sea Production Costs In Half

18 Sep 2017   United Kingdom

In a talk he gave last week at the Society of Petroleum Engineers Offshore Europe conference in Aberdeen, BP CEO Bob Dudley said his company has cut production costs by half in the North Sea. “This focus on standardization, simplification and discipline on cost has contributed to our average production costs in the North Sea coming down from a peak of over $30 a barrel in 2014, to less than $15 a barrel today. Heading towards 2020, with all our major new developments coming into production, we expect that to come down below $12 a barrel in the North Sea,” the BP chief executive said. Dudley was opening plenary’s keynote speaker at the European E&P conference. His talk was entitled “New realities — reinventing our industry.” He talked about how the energy industry is changing. Dudley referred to an innovation his company is focusing on as “the type of […]

Electric Vehicles: The High Cost Of Going Green

It has become raison d’être that electric vehicles (EV) will keep increasing in use without considering serious factors that could hamper their growth. The British electrical grid example and the growth of EVs should bring pause to consumers, investors and governments promoting their unconstrained usage. According to the British National Grid, “the growing use of electric vehicles could increase electricity peak demand by 3.5 gigawatts (GW) by 2030.” This will occur since sales of EVs are expected to be more than 90 percent of all British car purchases by 2050, highlighted in its Future Energy Scenarios Report . In July, the British government mandated that all new petrol and diesel cars would be banned by “2040 to reduce air pollution and assist cutting carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels.” Moreover, the National Grid stated: “Peak electricity demand could even rise by as much as 8 […]

BP folds Argentine assets into JV backed by Cnooc

BP has agreed to fold its Argentine assets into a new joint-venture backed by Cnooc of China in a deal that widens both groups’ interests in a country boasting some of the most promising shale oil and gas resources outside the US. Pan American Energy (PAE), an Argentine oil and gas producer 60 per cent owned by BP, will be combined with Axion Energy, one of the Latin American country’s largest oil refiners and fuel retailers, to create a new integrated energy group. The new company will be a 50-50 joint venture with Axion’s owner, Bridas Corporation, which is 50 per cent owned by state-controlled Cnooc. Bridas already owns the 40 per cent of PAE not held by BP and Axion is the primary customer for PAE’s Argentine crude oil output. BP said fully integrating the closely-connected businesses would unleash further operational synergies. No cash payments will be made by either party for the equity exchange, which BP said would create the largest private Argentine energy company. PAE accounted for 18 per cent of Argentine oil and gas production last year, with average output of 262,000 barrels a day. It operates the Cerro Dragon oilfield — the country’s largest — and also has positions in the Vaca Muerta shale region. Argentina has been attracting growing interest from global energy groups as a new frontier in the shale revolution, which has unlocked large volumes of oil and gas from “tight” rock formations in the US.

The Two Nations Leading The Wind Power Race

China and the UK have teamed up to develop the next generation of offshore wind power capacity, with a focus on identifying the best locations for the new installations and making them more resilient to harsh weather conditions including typhoons and earthquakes. The UK’s Natural Environment Research Council said research teams from the two countries will work together on five projects, to receive funding from the Joint UK-China Renewable Energy program as well as financial support from NERC and the National Natural Science Foundation of China. The UK and China are among the leaders in renewable energy globally, and their new tie-up will solidify their position at the top of the clean-energy-adopters list. The UK already has the largest offshore wind capacity in Europe, and last year a quarter of all electricity generation came from renewables. China last year installed 23.4 GW of new wind capacity, which accounted for […]

Last of the 67 turbines for a British wind farm installed

Statoil, a Norwegian oil and gas company with a footprint in renewables, said the last of the 67 turbines at a wind facility off the British coast is in place. Statoil said the last of the 67 turbines at the Dudgeon wind farm off the British coast are in place. By next month, the facility could provide service for 410,000 average British homes at peak capacity, though phased installations meant households started receiving electricity in February. Apart from Russia, Norway is one of the leading oil and natural gas suppliers to the European market. Statoil is its main energy company, but said wind energy was a natural fit. “Dudgeon offshore wind farm is part of Statoil’s strategy of […]

British foreign minister visits oil-rich Libya

26 Aug 2017   Libya, United Kingdom

A NATO member with a legacy of energy-related interests, the British government said it was working to ensure Libya evolves as a safe and stable partner. British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson met with Libyan military officials in Benghazi, marking the first time for such a visit since 2011. The British government said the visit was an indication of its interest in working to bring peace and stability to Libya. “A secure and stable Libya, better able to deal with the threat from terrorism and the challenge of migration, is firmly in the United Kingdom’s interests,” the minister said in a statement . At the time of the last visit by a […]

Electricity is a Rip-Off

25 Aug 2017   United Kingdom

British Gas has raised electricity prices by 12.5% and its rivals are likely to follow suit. Another round of inflation-busting increases has put calls for an energy price cap back on the agenda . When then Labour leader Ed Miliband first proposed a cap in 2013 it was dismissed by the Tories as coming from a “ Marxist universe ”. Four years later, Theresa May flirted with the idea ahead of the 2017 election, while Labour included the policy in its manifesto . But whatever it is, it’s not a Marxist idea. For a start, the price cap won’t work because the market is not only broken, it never worked in the first place. Incredibly high start-up costs mean energy is a natural monopoly , in which a small number of companies have been protecting significant investments in fossil fuels and nuclear power since the sector was first privatised. […]

Blockade Can’t Stop Qatar From Suppling UK With Gas

24 Aug 2017   LNG, Qatar, United Kingdom

Qatar supplies 20 percent of Britain’s natural gas. Just in the past four weeks, British ports have received one million meters worth of scheduled gas orders, according to the Middle East Monitor. Doha dodged the worst logistical obstacles of the blockade by shifting its main export hub from the United Arab Emirates to Oman when the row first became public. Now, Qatar’s energy leaders are optimistic, feeling the ordeal has made the country’s logistics more robust. In mid-July , diplomats from Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates signaled that they no longer wanted Qatar to comply with 13 specific demands levied in June. Instead, they proposed six broad principles that they wanted Qatar to sign onto. The principles included denying safe havens and financing to terrorists, combating terrorism and extremism, stopping incitement of hatred and violence, and refraining from interfering in the internal politics of other […]

UK Oil Production, Reserves and Future Projection

18 Aug 2017   United Kingdom

Production History and Reserves UK oil production peaked in 1999. The peak was probably pushed out a couple of years because of the major production interruptions following the Piper Alpha disaster. Production declined quickly until around 2011, then the high oil price allowed more brownfield and then greenfield developments that created a third local peak in 2016. Production is declining again this year but there are several large projects due that will create another peak in 2018 or 2019 (nearly equal to the 2016 one). After that terminal decline is likely. The chart below shows C&C production split according to the year of first production of the field. Like all such all diagrams, this shows that the largest fields were developed first and declined the slowest. Most data here is taken from the new UK Oil and Gas Authority (which replaced part of […]

Shell’s strategic move into electricity

Royal Dutch Shell’s decision to sell electricity direct to industrial customers is an intelligent and creative one. The shift is strategic and demonstrates that oil and gas majors are capable of adapting to a new world as the transition to a lower carbon economy develops. For those already in the business of providing electricity it represents a dangerous competitive threat. For the other oil majors it poses a direct challenge on whether they are really thinking about the future sufficiently strategically. The move starts small with a business in the UK that will start trading early next year. Shell will supply the business operations as a first step and it will then expand. But Britain is not the limit — Shell recently announced its intention of making similar sales in the US. Historically, oil and gas companies have considered a move into electricity as a step too far, with the sector seen as oversupplied and highly politicised because of sensitivity to consumer price rises. I went through three reviews during my time in the industry, each of which concluded that the electricity business was best left to someone else. What has changed? I think there are three strands of logic behind the strategy. First, the state of the energy market. The price of gas in particular has fallen across the world over the last three years to the point where the International Energy Agency describes the current situation as a “glut”. Meanwhile, Shell has been developing an extensive range of gas assets, with more to come. In what has become a buyer’s market it is logical to get closer to the customer — establishing long-term deals that can soak up the supply.

Poll: Shale drilling a new concept to the British public

British polling data show only a handful of respondents claim to know much about hydraulic fracturing. Photo courtesy of Cuadrilla Resources Aug. 3 (UPI) — With shale drilling about ready to go for the first time ever in the country, British opponents said public sentiment was moving against the practice. Cuadrilla Resources said the drilling rig used to tap wells at a shale basin in Lancashire arrived at its destination in late July . The industry is in its infancy in the country, though the British government estimates there may be enough natural gas locked in shale to offset gas imports on pace to increase from 45 percent of demand in 2011 to 76 percent by 2030. Polling data from the British government found only about 13 percent of those responding to its surveys said they knew “a lot” about hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Support and opposition […]

Drilling set to begin in British shale

With its drilling rig on site, a British shale gas explorer said it expects to address offshore production declines with onshore operations by year’s end. Cuadrilla Resources said the drilling rig used to tap wells at a shale basin have arrived at their destination in Lancashire. “With the decline of North Sea gas and our ever increasing reliance on gas imports, including shale gas imported from the United States, developing an indigenous source of natural gas is critical for U.K. energy security, our economy, jobs and the environment,” Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan said in a statement . “We are proud as a Lancashire company to be at the forefront of that effort.” The British government estimates shale […]

So how on earth are we going to power nine million electric cars

Earlier this year, car buyers were encouraged to take advantage of the Government’s new environmentally friendly decision to exempt from road tax all electric cars with zero carbon emissions that cost less than £40,000. Intrigued to see the choices that might be available, I visited a Mitsubishi dealer. The hottest model on the forecourt in this category was the latest hybrid Sports Utility Vehicle. A salesman told me that if I was interested in buying it and wanted to avoid the slow process of recharging the car overnight using my domestic electricity supply, he could install a more powerful charger on my driveway for free. I had never realised that owning an electric car involved such a daily palaver. So, put off by the idea of having to plug in the car every night and the potential for overloading our house’s electric circuits, I did not proceed any further. […]

Britain will ban new petrol and diesel cars from 2040: minister

27 Jul 2017   United Kingdom

Britain will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel-powered cars from 2040 as part of a plan to get them off the roads altogether 10 years later, environment minister Michael Gove said on Wednesday. It follows a similar announcement earlier this month by the French government, while German cities including Stuttgart and Munich have also said they are considering banning some diesel vehicles. The British government has been under pressure to take steps to reduce air pollution after losing legal cases brought by campaign groups, and in May set out proposals for a scrappage scheme to get rid of the most polluting vehicles. Ahead of a June election, the governing Conservatives pledged to make “almost every car and van” zero-emission by 2050. “Today we are confirming that that means there should be no new diesel or petrol vehicles by 2040,” Gove told BBC Radio. The […]

UK unveils new plan to cut NO2; sale of new conventional gasoline and diesel cars to end by 2040; focus on local action

27 Jul 2017   United Kingdom

The UK Government unveiled its new plan to reduce roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO 2 ) concentrations in the shortest amount of time. Among the many policy and funding details in the UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations , produced by Defra and the Department for Transport is the cessation of the sale of all new conventional gasoline and diesel cars by 2040. Another element in the plan includes possible civil and criminal charges against manufacturers implementing emissions defeat devices, with fines of up to £50,000 (US$65,000) per instance. The NO 2 plan is one element in the Government’s efforts to deliver clean air. In 2018, the Government will publish a comprehensive Clean Air Strategy which will address other sources of air pollution. Air quality in the UK has been improving significantly in recent decades, with reductions in emissions of all of the key pollutants, and NO 2 […]

Is BP Shifting Its Focus To Natural Gas?

BP announced highlights of its Q2 2017 exploration activities today, collecting the results of several different projects. Four discoveries representing 17+ Tcf of gas BP reports that it has made four gas discoveries so far in 2017. Two separate discoveries were made near Trinidad and Tobago. The Savannah exploration well was drilled into an untested fault block in 500 feet of water, and encountered about 650 feet of net pay. The strong results from this well mean BP expects to develop the fault block using a tieback to the nearby Juniper platform. The Macadamia well, also offshore from Trinidad, recently drilled below the existing SEQB discovery. The well found seven intervals of pay, with a total of 600 feet net pay. The success of this well, and the previously-established SEQB discovery, mean BP will likely develop the area using a new platform in the future. According to BP, Savannah […]

Gas development boosts opportunities in British North Sea

1 Jul 2017   United Kingdom

Energy opportunities in the British waters of the North Sea are bolstered by new work slated for natural gas, services company Bilfinger Salamis said Friday. The company announced it landed a contract for services to help Maersk Oil with platform installations for the Culzean natural gas field. “There are fewer major hook-up projects in the North Sea than in previous years, but the Culzean contract ensures further recruitment and growth for our North Sea business in the years ahead,” Managing Director Sandy Bonner said in a statement . The company said the new work contract could create as many as 300 new jobs in the North Sea energy sector. Parts of the North Sea are rebounding somewhat following maturation concerns. […]

British North Sea target of new drilling plans

20 Jun 2017   United Kingdom

New drilling planned for the British waters of the North Sea by early 2018. The focus area is in a region targeted for development by British energy company BP. Photo courtesy of BP June 19 (UPI) — New drilling off the coast of Britain will start in April to appraise prospects west of the Shetland Islands, a drilling company said. The company, North Atlantic Drilling Ltd., said it was awarded a contract with Siccar Point Energy, an exploration and production company, to examine the waters west of Sheltand. “The contract will commence on April 1st when Siccar Point Energy will drill and test an appraisal well on the Cambo discovery with the data being used to refine the development project requirements,” the drilling company stated. “The minimum backlog for the contract is estimated at $7 million.” Siccar Point took control over the Cambo reservoir when it acquired a regional […]

BP pumps more capital into North Sea programs

British energy company BP is putting more capital into its North Sea program with nearly $200 million in contracts, an energy services company said. Cape Industrial Services said it secured 400 jobs in the North Sea energy sector in a contract that provides BP with storage tank services and other support across the regional exploration, production and transportation sector. “Cape Industrial Services Ltd. has secured two contracts to extend the group’s longstanding relationship with BP in the U.K. North Sea for a further three years,” the company said in a statement . “These contracts have a combined estimated value in excess of $190 million.” The contract marks a rebound for the North Sea portfolio of BP, which last […]

UK Conservatives pledge energy price cap, hitting utility shares

24 Apr 2017   United Kingdom

Britain’s ruling Conservative Party said it would cap domestic energy prices if it retained power in an election in June, targeting an industry it accuses of not working properly and sending shares in the leading providers down sharply. Shares in British energy suppliers Centrica and SSE fell by 4-5 percent after ministers said the Conservative’s election manifesto would include pledges on controlling energy prices. Energy bills have doubled in Britain over the past decade to about 1,200 pounds ($1,640) a year, angering consumers who face rising inflation, and drawing the ire of politicians ahead of a June 8 national election. Energy companies say higher prices reflect increased wholesale costs and environmental levies. Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has previously said the energy market does not work properly and called for more competition in […]

Is Britain’s ‘largest oil discovery in decades’ really all that?

11 Apr 2017   United Kingdom

A large oil find has been declared 60 miles west of Shetland, off the north coast of Scotland. It’s being described as the UK’s “ largest undeveloped discovery ”. Taken at face value, this is exciting news for an industry still reeling after the oil price collapse of the past few years (environmentalists though are less enthusiastic ). The discovery was made by Hurricane Energy, a specialist exploration firm, which announced that its Halifax well had found large amounts of oil. It said it had also successfully undertaken a production test in which oil flowed at an impressive rate. This find may even be connected with a previous discovery nearby (the Lancaster field ) and hence be part of one large accumulation of nearly a billion untapped barrels. Hurricane Energy specialises in trying to extract oil from so-called fractured “basement” reservoirs . While most oil, including most North Sea […]

BP Sells Key North Sea Pipeline System to Ineos for $250 Million

BP Plc agreed to sell the Forties pipeline, one of the most important pieces of oil infrastructure in the U.K. North Sea, to Ineos AG for $250 million. Ineos will make a cash payment of $125 million on completion and transfer a share of future earnings up to $125 million over seven years, BP said in a statement Monday. The London-based oil producer will retain rights to use the pipeline system’s capacity. The two companies confirmed last month they were in discussions for the pipeline, which transports crude used to set the price of Dated Brent, the benchmark for more than half the world’s oil. BP is selling assets to help pay for the 2010 oil spill in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, for which it set aside more than $50 billion. It also needs to bring down debt and maintain dividends as oil continues to trade at half […]

Report: Operators Stepping Up Search for North Sea Decommissioning Staff

31 Mar 2017   United Kingdom

Operators are improving the ways in which they search for North Sea decommissioning staff, according to a new report by the Boston Consulting Group. Operators are improving the ways in which they search for North Sea decommissioning staff, according to a new report by the Boston Consulting Group. “Leading operators are recognizing that they need tailored talent acquisition and development plans for decommissioning that include sourcing and training interdisciplinary teams of technical and non-technical staff,” the report said. “These operators are starting to highlight decommissioning careers to attract the right talent to both central and business unit roles,” the report added. BCG’s North Sea Decommissioning report highlighted that many engineers acknowledged that decommissioning is the future of the industry in the region, but revealed that a significant portion of engineers with relevant experience are at or close to retirement. The report also stated that finding talent for the sector […]

BP to sell more refineries and sharpen focus on retail outlets

30 Mar 2017   United Kingdom

 BP plans to sell more refineries without investing in new plants despite growing oil production and will focus on modernizing existing operations while expanding its network of filling stations to generate $3 billion in additional cash. The group’s head of refining told Reuters that even though BP’s output was set to spike in the next five years as new fields become operational, its attitude to refining remains more cautious. “Are we going to invest in more green field refining in BP? Probably not,” said Tufan Erginbilgic, who has worked in refining since 1990. Refining of crude oil into fuels such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel has for years been the industry’s problem child, having to grapple with weak and volatile profit margins as well as competition from modern refineries built in China, India […]

British North Sea oil and gas sector still facing headwinds

8 Mar 2017   -, United Kingdom

An industry trade group sees confidence returning to the British North Sea, but lingering challenges remain for oil and natural gas. File photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI. March 7 (UPI) — Though the region is showing signs of recovery, a British oil and gas trade group said new investments in offshore activity are slow to emerge. A report from the trade group Oil & Gas U.K. finds total British offshore production up 5 percent from 2015 to 1.73 billion barrels of oil equivalent. That trend should continue short-term with output reaching 1.9 billion barrels of oil equivalent by 2018. That follows a 15-year period of steady declines from British waters. Deirdre Michie, the chief executive for the trade group, said confidence is returning to the North Sea. Cash flow generated by exploration and production companies is expected to move into positive territory for the first time since 2013. “However, this […]

U.K. Oil, Gas Output Set for Longest Expansion in Two Decades

7 Mar 2017   United Kingdom

U.K. oil and gas production will continue to grow through 2018, putting it on course for the longest expansion in almost two decades, amid project startups and productivity gains, an industry lobby said. “Production has now been rising since 2015, bucking a 15-year trend of decline, and should continue to rise over the next two years,” Oil & Gas U.K. said in a statement on Tuesday. Output in the U.K. Continental Shelf rose to 1.73 million barrels of oil equivalent a day last year and will peak at between 1.8 million and 1.9 million barrels in 2018, the group said. New developments as well as productivity gains are behind the increase after output in the basin peaked about 15 years ago, the lobby said. The slump in oil prices has forced the industry to become leaner, with average operating costs falling by almost half to about $15.30 a barrel […]

British oil and gas projects late and over budget, report says

4 Mar 2017   United Kingdom

Despite capital investments coming in at an all-time high, a British survey of oil and gas activity found few projects were delivered on time and under budget. The official British Oil & Gas Authority published its five-year review of oil and gas activity for the period ending in 2016. The review found less than 25 percent of oil and gas projects were delivered on time, with most running about 10 months behind schedule. OGA Operations Director Gunther Newcombe put a positive spin on the figures, noting investments came in at close to $50 billion over the last five years. “This brings considerable benefits in terms of financial contribution to the economy, supporting thousands of skilled jobs and safeguarding […]

BP Says Peak Oil Demand May Occur Post-2050, Plans to Increase Production

2 Mar 2017   United Kingdom

In the wake of the expected growth trends set out by its energy outlook, BP plc revealed in its latest strategy update that it anticipates production to increase by an average of 5 percent per year from 2016 to 2021. BP Group production, which includes BP’s share of production from Rosneft, is expected to be around 4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) by 2021, the energy major said in a Feb. 28 company statement. According to BP: six projects began production in 2016 seven projects are scheduled to come online in 2017 nine projects are expected to come on-stream between 2018 to 2021 The projects coming online in 2016 and 2017 are said to be on track to deliver 500,000 boepd in new production capacity by the end of this year. Production ramping up from new upstream projects is expected to deliver a material improvement in […]

A Push for Diesel Leaves London Gasping Amid Record Pollution

Every winter, as if on cue, the coughing begins. As soon as the weather turns cold, Tara Carey, an international aid worker living in London, ritually places cough syrup on her bedside table because she knows her sleep will be punctuated by hacking coughs. She also coughs at work. And she coughs while cycling to her office, on a road so toxic that for a brief period last month the air pollution there was greater than in infamously smoggy Beijing.

Tidal Lagoon Energy in Wales

17 Feb 2017   Tidal, United Kingdom

The report of an independent review of UK tidal lagoon energy was published on 12 January 2017 by a former UK energy Minister Charles Hendry. The report praises the proposed ‘pathfinder’ tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay as a ‘no-regrets option’, and sets out a supportive case for developing the sector. The Hendry Review was commissioned in February 2016 by UK Government to assess the strategic case for tidal lagoon energy as a new industry in the UK. This followed a successful planning proposal by Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP) to develop the world’s first tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay, as well as a subsequent programme for a ‘fleet’ of five larger projects, including three in Welsh waters (Cardiff, Newport and Colwyn Bay). Despite the Swansea Bay project appearing in the 2015 UK Conservative Party manifesto and receiving development consent in June 2015, uncertainties around cost and subsidy subsequently prompted the […]

Decline of UK’s Rough storage site to raise gas import costs

17 Feb 2017   United Kingdom

The decline of Britain’s biggest gas storage site and the lack of new-build to replace it will increase dependency on imports over the next few years, boosting wholesale market volatility and consumer gas prices. Seasonal gas storage provides security and flexibility of supply. At times of low demand and therefore low gas prices in the summer, gas is injected into storage to be kept for when demand rises in the winter. Rough, the country’s only seasonal gas storage site, can usually meet around 10 percent of Britain’s peak daily gas demand but is currently capable only of handling 5 percent. At over 30 years old, the depleted gas field off England’s east coast has undergone prolonged outages over the past year due to problems with well pressure; six wells have permanently closed and […]

Volvo receives order for 8 all-electric buses in UK; OppCharge opportunity charging

Volvo Buses has received an order for eight electric buses, the Volvo 7900 electric, from Transdev Blazefield, the owner of the Harrogate Bus Company in the UK. Operations start in 2018 in Harrogate, 90 km northeast of Manchester. When the vehicles enter service in 2018, the project will be the first of its kind in the UK introducing full electric vehicles using opportunity charging via the common interface OppCharge, whereby the charging stations can also be used by electrified buses from other vehicle manufacturers. OppCharge is now starting to be used as a common interface in more than 12 countries. ( Earlier post .) Opportunity charging takes place via an overhead mast, which connects to the bus […]

BP may ‘incrementally’ increase U.S. shale portfolio: CEO

BP is looking at ways to incrementally increase its footprint in U.S. shale oil and gas production, its Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley said on Tuesday. Dudley said the company will use “a lot of discipline” in investments in the sector as asset prices are high. Talking to analysts after reporting its 2016 results, Dudley also said the British oil and gas company was considering giving the green light to several projects around the world, including in Oman, Trinidad and Tobago and India. (Reporting by Ron Bousso; editing by Jason Neely)

Why Is This Private Equity Fund Scooping Up Billions In North Sea Assets

2 Feb 2017   United Kingdom

I’ve been discussing the return of big oil and gas M&A the last several weeks. And yesterday we got more confirmation it’s “money on” right now in the global petroleum sector — with one of the biggest single deals in years coming down in an unexpected place. From a virtually unknown acquirer — which has instantly become the largest independent producer in the neighborhood. That’s a London-based firm called Chrysaor Holdings. Which yesterday unveiled a $3.8 billion purchase of North Sea assets from Shell. Under the deal, Chrysaor is buying Shell’s working interest in seven North Sea projects. Coming with a current 115,000 b/d of oil equivalent production — plus another 13,000 b/d production in the Shetland Islands, which is expected to be onstream soon. In total, Chrysaor will acquire 350 million barrels of proven and probable reserves — making the firm the largest U.K. independent producer focused on […]

Shell Sells $4.7 Billion of Fields as Disposal Push Accelerated

31 Jan 2017   United Kingdom

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, looking to pare debt swollen by last year’s acquisition of BG Group Plc, accelerated its drive to shed assets on Tuesday by agreeing to the sale of fields in the North Sea and Thailand for as much as $4.7 billion. The disposals include the sale of about half the company’s North Sea oil and gas assets for as much as $3.8 billion to Chrysaor Holdings Ltd., Shell said. Earlier Tuesday, the company agreed to sell its stake in an offshore Thai gas field to a unit of Kuwait Petroleum Corp. for $900 million. Shell piled up borrowings following its biggest-ever acquisition, the $54 billion purchase of BG, and needs to hit disposal targets to stave off credit rating reviews and maintain dividend payouts. While Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden has made debt reduction a top priority, Shell missed its target for asset sales last […]

Fracking gets conditional endorsement from Church of England advisers: Kemp

20 Jan 2017   United Kingdom

Two groups of Church of England advisers have cautiously endorsed fracking for shale gas in the United Kingdom provided it does not conflict with climate change policy and robust regulations are put in place. If the Church’s advisory panel had come out against fracking, the decision would have been widely cited by lobbying groups active on climate issues as well as local issues to oppose further drilling and fracturing. Instead its cautious endorsement, subject to conditions, is in line with an evolving consensus that does not oppose fracking in principle but is likely to remain wary in practice for the time being. “Shale gas is a potentially useful element in achieving a transition to a much lower carbon economy,” church advisers wrote in a briefing paper […]

UK Is Europe’s Last Hope For A Fracking Success

19 Jan 2017   United Kingdom

Following poor success across Europe, including Poland, Ukraine, France, the Netherlands, and Denmark, the UK now remains the last candidate province for European shale gas and oil in the near term. And a fracking moratorium in Scotland has further reduced that to England & Wales. The British government is in favour of developing the resource and has opened up significant acreage in the 14th Onshore Round. Nonetheless, some resistance remains. Meanwhile, North Sea production has been waning and the current deficit amounts to around 1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) per annum, with the figure set to double over the next 20 years. 1/3 of gas imports come from either Russian fields or LNG supplies of mixed provenance. And with ‘Brexit’ looming, it will be vital for the UK economy to secure long term, reliable energy. (Click to enlarge) Figure 1. Falling North Sea gas production could create a huge […]

Church of England weighs in on shale

19 Jan 2017   United Kingdom

The Church of England said Wednesday it added its voice to the chorus of those taking a stand on the fledgling shale natural gas industry in the country. “As more applications for test drilling and fracking are granted, some affected communities are looking to the Church of England for leadership and perspective on the many issues concerned,” it said in a briefing paper. Last year, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace delivered a petition with 186,000 signatures to the British government expressing solidarity with a move by the Lancashire County Council to prohibit drilling in the area. Advocacy groups say there are indications the government aims to develop a commercial shale industry under the terms of a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Planning mechanism, a mechanism criticized […]

So-so future for British North Sea

18 Jan 2017   United Kingdom

Oil and natural gas activity off the British coast should wax and wane in the short-term after one of the industry’s worst years, Wood Mackenzie finds. Lower crude oil prices and an uncertain economic future in the wake of last year’s vote to leave the European Union put the British offshore oil and gas industry in “full survival mode,” according to a report from Wood Mackenzie. Fiona Legate, a senior analyst with the group, said in a statement that capital investments offshore last year declined 20 percent to just over $10 billion, a figure reflected in a lower appetite for new assessments offshore. That, however, masks otherwise upbeat performances. “Exploration and appraisal drilling hit a 50-year low in 2016, but despite this […]

Oil Price Rebound May Come Too Late For UK Oil Sector

9 Jan 2017   United Kingdom

The ‘lower for longer’ oil price reality of the past two years has spared virtually no one in the industry, and the UK’s oil and gas companies have been among the hardest hit, strained by the oil price slump in the high-cost production area of the North Sea. Troubles with refinancing and declining capital investment in North Sea projects have taken their toll, especially on smaller independents, a report by accountancy firm Moore Stephens shows. A total of 16 UK-based oil and gas companies became insolvent in 2016, compared to just 2 businesses that went bust in 2015, to 6 insolvencies in 2014, 1 in 2013, and not a single one in 2012. Moore Stephens flagged concerns that many hedging contracts – that had secured higher prices for some producers – now have expired. In addition, oil and gas companies have been facing problems with refinancing as banks are […]

Amid smoggy days in London, growing calls to clean up Europe’s toxic air

It’s Christmastime on Oxford Street. Brilliant displays of white lights rain from above. Decked-out shoppers dash from one gaudy sale to the next. And Johnny Conquest breathes in poison. “The air is horrible. The taxis stop right here, and when they take off, boom, you can taste it,” says the 67-year-old as the heavenly smell of the caramel peanuts he hawks from a humble street stall mingles with the sickly stench of diesel. “I’m on the worst corner in London.” In at least one important respect, it may be the worst in the world. London has come a long way since the days when its infamous coal-fired pollution shrouded Sherlock in a permanent haze or struck at least 4,000 residents dead in less than a week. But the city’s overreliance on diesel-powered vehicles […]

The End Of The Downturn? BP Steps Up Spending As Oil Prices Rise

20 Dec 2016   United Kingdom

With the rebound in oil prices underway and the astronomic costs stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the rear view mirror, BP is once again looking to make large investments. In just the past few days, BP announced a rash of deals in different parts of the world, signaling the British oil major’s intent to grow after several years of shrinking. Over the course of three days, BP announced a $2.2 billion expansion of its existing facility in Abu Dhabi, as well as a nearly $1 billion investment in natural gas fields off the coast of Mauritania and Senegal. Bloomberg calculates that BP has spent $3.8 billion on acquisitions in 2016, the highest tally in four years. BP’s CEO Bob Dudley finds himself in an unfamiliar position – the CEO of a growing company. He took the helm shortly after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which saw nearly […]

UK High Court upholds shale gas permit for Third Energy: claimants

20 Dec 2016   United Kingdom

Britain’s High Court ruled on Tuesday that a local government’s shale gas fracking permit award to developer Third Energy was legal, claimants Friends of the Earth said in a statement. “The High Court has ruled that fracking can go ahead in beautiful Yorkshire,” said Donna Hume, campaigner for Friends of the Earth, an environmental group that had challenged the permit awarded in May. North Yorkshire County Council was the first local authority to grant a shale gas fracking permit since a moratorium was lifted in 2012. Other British shale gas developers include IGas, Egdon Resources and INEOS. (Reporting by Karolin Schaps, editing by Louise Heavens)