The OGA has awarded contracts to PGS and WesternGeco for the second UK Government funded $26.5 million (GBP 20 million) seismic campaign to promote underexplored areas of UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).
PGS and WesternGeco secured the contracts to acquire seismic data from the East Shetland Platform and South West Britain, respectively. The program is anticipated to collect between 6,213 miles and 9,320 miles of new seismic data from under-explored frontier areas. The acquisition is due to begin in July, subject to receiving the relevant environmental approvals, and will be supplemented by selective reprocessing of legacy seismic datasets.
Acquisition is expected to be completed during the fourth quarter of 2016 and released to industry in the second quarter of 2017, mirroring the 2015 seismic program which saw more than 24,854 line miles of new and reprocessed data released to industry earlier this year.
The seismic acquisition program forms part of a package of measures designed to support the oil and gas sector, announced by the Prime Minister David Cameron earlier in 2016. The areas were selected following engagement with industry and endorsed by the MER UK Exploration Board.
“The seismic acquisition program is a critical part of OGA’s plan to revitalize exploration. Last year’s program, which covered the Rockall Trough and Mid-North Sea High areas, sparked significant interest in these frontier areas of the UKCS with more than 3,000 downloads of the standard seismic data packages,” said Gunther Newcombe, OGA director of exploration and production.
“Studies of these areas are being carried out which will provide valuable insight into their potential ahead of the 29th Offshore Licensing Round which we hope to announce imminently, subject to completion of the Strategic Environmental Assessment. The 2016 program is focusing on under-explored frontier areas where no substantial seismic has been acquired in decades. It is expected these areas will be made available for licensing in the 31st Frontier Licensing Round which will be held in 2018,” he added.
“The UKCS is in a unique position having recovered more than 43 billion barrels of oil equivalent to-date, yet up to 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent still remains. The challenge is now for industry to increase exploration drilling in the UKCS and work with OGA to meet our shared target of 50 exploration and appraisal wells per year by 2021,” Newcombe continued.
PGS vessel the Nordic Explorer is scheduled to carry out seismic surveys across the East Shetland Platform, which includes the East Orkney Basin, East Fair Isle Basin and Dutch Bank Basin. WesternGeco vessel WG Magellan will perform seismic surveys around South West Britain, including the Celtic Sea, Western English Channel, Bristol Channel, St George’s Channel and the Irish Sea.
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