Approval Given to Re-Develop Ardmore Field

Energy Minister Brian Wilson gave the go-ahead for two British companies to redevelop the first ever UK North Sea oil field, Ardmore, creating 100 new jobs.

Activity on Ardmore, formerly known as Argyll, came to an end in 1992 when operations became uneconomic and the field was decommissioned. It has been lying fallow ever since.

Now Tuscan and Acorn, its new operators, have made use of the latest well technology, which will lead to a 2-year project to recover 21 million barrels of oil that were previously unreachable.

Brian Wilson said: "Thirty years ago experts were predicting North Sea oil would run out in the 1990s. On the contrary, the UK Continental Shelf keeps on surprising us.

"The Ardmore development will bring new jobs, open new avenues for business and continue to put Britain at the forefront of innovation.

"Looking afresh at our national resource has revealed new oil and gas in the past few years. Although in international terms the North Sea is a mature area, there are still many opportunities for exploration in fallow discoveries and blocks, brown fields and new areas.

"Today's announcement proves that recent Government-industry initiatives, notably to attract new concepts, are paying off. We would like a range of players active in the North Sea seizing the opportunities that are there."

Argyll was opened by the then Energy Minister, Tony Benn, in 1975. During the lifespan of the field less than 40% of the oil was retrieved. It is predicted that new oil will flow from the newly named Ardmore field towards the end of 2003.

Seaward Production Licenses for block 30/24 were awarded to Tuscan Energy (Scotland) Ltd. (65%) and Acorn North Sea Ltd (35%) on January 16 2002.

2) The Argyll field became the first UK offshore producing oil field in 1975, operated at that time by Hamilton. The field was relinquished after production had become uneconomic in 1992 and 73 million barrels of oil had been produced. The field was renamed Ardmore on March 8 2002. New oil reserves are currently expected to total 21 million barrels to be produced from 3-4 new-drilled high-angle wells.