West of Shetland Task Force Forges Ahead into New Year

The joint Government / Industry Task Force, established to determine whether there is a collective solution to the development of the resource base to the West of Shetland, is on track to generate options in the New Year.

The Task Force Work Group - made up of representatives from DTI and the five key companies with operator control of assets / acreage in the region (BP, TOTAL E&P UK PLC, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and DONG Energy) - has met five times since project launch on 1st November. The project is already analysing the options in detail and aims to deliver a report to Ministers in spring next year.

Two consultants, Genesis Oil & Gas and Decisions Unlimited, have started work on the project, carrying out the technical and economic work required by the Task Force.

The analysis is looking at possibilities for development of a gathering hub which would allow gas to be brought to shore. Four different possible types of generic, hub scenarios have been identified to form the basis for the technical and economic evaluations:

  • Onshore Hub at Sullom Voe
  • Offshore Deepwater Hub at Laggan
  • Offshore Shallow Water Hub close to Clair
  • Alternative Deepwater Hub at Rosebank-Lochnagar

The Task Force is also addressing options for building a new pipeline to transport gas from the West of Shetland to the UK mainland. Several alternative gas transportation routes are being considered as part of the analysis as well as the option of using existing infrastructure. Work on alternative commercial models for development will start in the New Year, including options for involving other interested parties.

A further update of progress is planned for the New Year.

Maximizing the UK's existing oil and gas reserves is a key component in meeting the security of supply challenge set out in the Energy Review. Government believes there exists an opportunity to establish the spine of a substantial gas infrastructure West of Shetland to stimulate further activity and to improve security of supply.

West of Shetland represents a potential 17% of the UK's remaining oil and gas reserves. Getting the right infrastructure in place to capitalize on this area is of growing significance. The aim of the Task Force is to determine whether a collective solution can be found to put the right infrastructure in place to facilitate development and exploration of this area.

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