What we do
Within the North Sea Region our activity set spans the entire industry lifecycle, from access and exploration, through resource appraise, drilling, commissioning, production and decommissioning. To date, we have invested £35 billion in the North Sea and produced over five billion barrels of oil and gas. Along with our partners, we are investing a further £10billion in the North Sea by 2017. Aberdeen, the energy capital of Europe, is the headquarters for BP’s North Sea upstream business, covering offshore operations, terminals and pipelines in the UK and Norway. We employ nearly 4, 000 people (BP and agency) in the North Sea Region and are proud of the work our people do to constantly push new frontiers. BP has been a leading operator in Aberdeen since the mid 1960’s, when North Sea oil and gas exploration and production began. In 1970, we discovered the giant Forties oilfield, confirming the North Sea as a globally significant oil and gas province. Since then, BP has continued to be a major player, finding, developing and operating numerous oil and gas fields and pipeline systems to bring the hydrocarbons ashore.
Our North Sea strategy
BP’s strategy in the North Sea Region focuses around three priorities: a continuing focus on safety and risk management; a drive to maximise recovery from our existing producing fields; and a commitment to invest significantly in the future. This strategy allows the company to realise the significant remaining potential of its North Sea resource base and is consistent with BP’s strengths in managing giant fields and nurturing our reservoirs to extend field life. Our strategy is based on managing and developing a high-value portfolio, focused on assets that have long-term options and where we can see value growth potential. By focusing on such assets, we are concentrating on what we are good at. With BP’s expertise, technology and deep experience in the North Sea, we can maximise recovery from our assets. Being focused is about more than just the value and growth of our assets, however, since the Deepwater Horizon incident in 2010, we have thought very deeply about risk reduction and have made a number of changes, including here in the North Sea. We have set ourselves new drilling standards that go beyond regulatory requirements. We have also shared lessons learned directly with other companies and industry-wide associations.
The second part of the strategy is about how we manage these high-value assets. This involves investing in our infrastructure to ensure safe and reliable production over the long term, and managing our reservoirs to maximise recovery. Our portfolio includes infrastructure installed in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, which we need to maintain and upgrade so that it continues to produce for longer. Our renewal programme, which will enable long-term maintenance work to be carried out in parallel with drilling and other activities, will help us to maximise production and increase oil and gas recovery. While the first element of our ‘maximising the base’ strategy is to ensure that we produce more reliably, the second is to ensure that, ultimately, we produce more from our reservoirs. One of the main ways we can do this is via enhanced oil recovery techniques. Another way is more sophisticated use of seismic imaging, which helps us to obtain better definition of our reservoirs and, therefore, enables better targeting of our wells.
Investing for the future
The third part of our strategy involves investing in new projects and exploration and appraisal work, to develop opportunities beyond the existing base. BP continues to invest heavily in a number of major projects in the Central North Sea and Shetland areas. A major upgrade of the Andrew facility allowed the Kinnoull field (a subsea satellite) to start producing in 2014. In the Schiehallion and Loyal fields, a new floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel and subsea facilities will enable a further 20 years’ production from 2016. The second phase of development of the giant Clair field, Clair Ridge, will see the installation of two new platforms, which will continue producing until 2050. And, finally, our Norway business has recently started up production from two major projects, Skarv, in the Norwegian Sea, and Valhall’s redevelopment, in the Central North Sea. These projects are the result of a major investment campaign over the past few years. In addition to our major project activity, BP has a healthy exploration and appraisal programme in the UK and Norway, which is designed to look for additional opportunities to develop the existing business. Last year, we announced a two-year multi-well appraisal programme to look at the potential for a third phase of development in the Clair field. In the UK’s 27th offshore oil and gas licensing round, BP was awarded licence interests across 14 offshore exploration blocks, our most successful round since the 1990s. We also secured interests in two new licences in the Barents Sea through Norway’s 22nd offshore licensing round.