ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom

There could still be considerable oil and gas reserves on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) a new study has suggested.

Researchers at Aberdeen University estimate that a further 17 billion barrels of oil and gas could be recovered from the area, bringing up to £330 billion in investment, Herald Scotland reported.

The aim of the study was to determine whether it was realistic for the the Oil and Gas Authority to expect that a further 14.9 billion barrels of the fuels could be recovered from the UKCS by 2025.

Authors of the study professor Alex Kemp and Linda Stephen commented that the remaining potential of the UKCS is “very substantial”. They also described the ambitious targets set by the regulator in its Vision 2035 plan as achievable.

By their estimation, a further 529 fields could be developed on the UKCS in the coming 30 years, which could deliver 17 billion barrels of oil equivalent reserves.

However, they noted that there are some conditions to this being achieved. “Important caveats are that the benefits of the painfully achieved cost reductions and the productivity gains from enhanced production efficiency have to be maintained,” the report stated.

Earlier this month, Shell announced that it would be investing in the Arran field and furthering its development there.

The Oil and Gas Authority’s chief executive Dr Andy Samuel praised the company and its partners for “showing real adaptability and tenacity to drive this project forward to what is Shell’s fourth field development approval this year”.

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Heathrow Airport has taken a bold step towards backing the use of electric-hybrid aircraft. The airport announced that the first electric-hybrid aircraft will be given one year of free landing charges at Heathrow if it is put into regular service at the transport hub.

That equates to almost £1 million, a significant cost saving and one that the airport is hoping will incentivise operators to focus on clean growth, and use their cleanest and quietest aircraft at Heathrow.

Speaking at a BusinessGreen Leaders Summit John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow chief executive, said that this is just the next logical step in the airport’s quest to promote sustainable aviation.

“We championed carbon neutral growth in global aviation, which will come into effect in 2020. The next frontier is zero carbon flying, and I hope this prize will help to make it a reality at Heathrow by 2030,” he asserted.

Many within the industry have welcomed the announcement, with Airbus chief technology officer Grazia Vittadini and easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren among those to support the initiative.

Liz Sugg, aviation minister, added that the government is exploring other ways in which to support the development of “cleaner, greener technology in the sector”.

Although Heathrow Airport’s announcement is making headlines, one small airline in Scotland appears to be ahead of the game where the introduction of electric aircraft is concerned.

The Press and Journal recently reported that Loganair, a Scottish regional airline, intends to start using electric planes on its services between the Orkney Islands by 2021.

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Although there is much talk of the maturity of oil and gas operations in the North Sea, the area West of Shetland offers a multitude of exploration opportunities.

Proactive Investors noted that this region is still considered a frontier area as far as oil and gas exploration goes, noting that recent discoveries have put it back at the front of people’s minds when it comes to further developing the UK’s oil and gas resources.

The news provider pointed to the recent announcement by Total SA, SSE PLC and INEOS that they had made a major new gas discovery in the area. It’s expected to contain 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, with Total explaining that existing infrastructure nearby would allow them to access it quickly and at a relatively low cost.

West of Shetland is on the UK continental shelf (UKCS), rather than in the North Sea. It’s in an area with more challenging conditions, which is why it’s comparatively unexplored.

Deirdre Michie, chief executive of Oil and Gas UK, said that the discovery by Total highlights the “exciting potential” of the area.

“As our Economic Report recently highlighted, an increase in drilling activity is key to unlocking the remaining potential of the UKCS,” Ms Michie added.

There were already indications that the big petroleum companies were increasing their activity in the West of Shetland. The Herald Scotland reported in January that exploration well numbers in the region were expected to grow in the coming year.

For example, Wood Mackenzie predicted that five wells would be drilled in West of Shetland in 2018, which would be the highest number in a single year since 2014, the newspaper revealed.

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