Weatherford Jockeys to Offer Much-Needed Resources for N. Sea Oil Bonanza

With the near-completion of phase 1 of Weatherford's new facilities at Altens in Aberdeen, the oilfield services giant has now set its sights on phases two and three of the colossal project. The infrastructure in the North Sea is there, say analysts, but the services provided by companies like Weatherford are drastically lacking in the North Sea.

The Aberdeen Press and Journal reported Jan. 11 that Weatherford has awarded Morrison Construction of Scotland with two new contracts totaling US$14.7 million. This comes on the same day that the Hannon Westwood study reveals a 17 billion barrel potential of unrisked prospects in 275 unlicensed acres in the U.K. North Sea.

The first of the contracts is for the design and construction of an $11.7 million, 50,000 square-foot office building, featuring three floors of office space, welfare facilities, an information technology suite, and a gym. The second contract is for an access road and a new workshop in a two-story office.

The discovery and prospect revelation of the Hannon Westwood study has operators and service companies scrambling to be a part of what is sure to be an oil bonanza in the North Sea. Weatherford, which has a 40-year history of operations in the North Sea, has established itself in a primary location with the new facilities in Aberdeen.

In 1977, Weatherford moved its North Sea management resources from Great Yarmouth to Aberdeen. The new campus location in Aberdeen is simply a consolidation of their existing resources, a move that is reportedly bringing in an additional 500 jobs to Aberdeen over the next few years.

Wood MacKenzie Analyst Geoff Gillies said the North Sea has a wealth of infrastructure, yet resources are few and far between.

"Resources are tight globally, but especially in the North Sea," Gillies told Rigzone. He said that it should be no surprise that companies like Weatherford are poised to provide the much-needed services so that operators can properly utilize the existing infrastructure.

However, Weatherford is not the only company jockeying for optimal North Sea locations. BP has plans for new facilities at Dyce, Halliburton is investing $39 million in a North Sea headquarters also at Dyce, Subsea 7 will relocate 850 of its personnel to Westhill, and Shell is constructing a $49 million facility at Tullos.

In all, analysts agree that things in the North Sea are going to become even more interesting in the coming months.

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