Britain auctions 300 million barrel offshore oil, gas field

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By Reuters
Britain auctions 300 million barrel offshore oil, gas field
FILE PHOTO: The word oil is pictured on an oil bank at a recycling yard in London March 2, 2011. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/File Photo   -  Copyright  Stefan Wermuth(Reuters)

ANTWERP, Belgium (Reuters) – Britain’s Oil and Gas Authority has launched an offshore licensing round for a field in the North Sea that is estimated to hold as much as 300 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe), it said on Thursday.

Companies have until May 2 to bid for the Greater Buchan Area, where oil production started in 1981 but where much volume is believed to remain untapped, and which the OGA would like to see exploited by companies partnering up.

“This is a material opportunity. To put this in context, the last discovery made in the UK of this scale was Rosebank in 2004,” said Ross Cassidy, senior research manager for the North Sea at Wood Mackenzie.

“The… volumes are a mix of redevelopment, undeveloped and yet-to-find volumes…(It) is surrounded with infrastructure at Golden Eagle, Buzzard, Scott, Forties and Kittiwake, making a tie-back to existing infrastructure possible. A minimum of 75 million boe is likely to be required to be commercially viable.”

The auction starts after Total and partners including China’s CNOOC announced a new gas discovery in the British North Sea’s Glengorm prospect, with recoverable resources estimated at around 250 million barrels boe.

The British North Sea has been undergoing a revival, attracting a new breed of investors in the form of private equity backed oil companies and majors rejigging their portfolios in the region.

The OGA plans to auction other mature offshore licences this summer.

(Reporting By Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)