BUSINESSES working in the East of England gas industry have been told there were at least another 20 years’ production left in the Southern North Sea (SNS) by a UK government expert.
Production is expected to continue until at least 2035, despite the current downturn, a House of Commons’ reception for 200 members of the East of England energy industry were told, offering a beacon of hope during difficult times.
According to the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) SNS area manager Eric Marston, the SNS could continue to meet 20% of the UK’s energy needs for another two decades.
Supply chain companies from the East of England should “hold on to that thought,” he told the event, with energy minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe, organised by the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) with Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis.
The delegation was designed to reinforce EEEGR’s messages about the region’s vital role in keeping the UK lit and warm and its importance to the national economy at the heart of government.
More than 3.7 trillion cubic feet of gas was still to be produced from the SNS from existing developments and a further 5 trillion cubic feet of gas from the further development of existing reservoirs but also undeveloped discoveries, Mr Marston said.
He called on supply chain companies and operators to sign up to a new SNS Rejuvenation Special Interest Group (SIG) organised by the OGA and EEEGR to work for solutions to unlock the remaining potential of the SNS.
“The SNS continues to be a key contributor to the UK’s energy needs. I would expect production to keep going for at least another 20 years, at least until 2035.”
“However it isn’t that simple. A significant portion of these opportunities are not easy to access.
“Much of what is left in the SNS are small pool and tight gas opportunities. These resources are increasingly expensive, commercially risky and complex to develop. We need to work on how to harness that potential including both innovative technical and commercial solutions.”
Synergies between the gas industry and the growing offshore wind industry would also be explored including how they could work more effectively and efficiently together.
“Both industries share the same parts of the SNS and need the same skills to get the work done and similar means of getting people to and from their offshore facilities “
“If your organisation can make a difference to the UK’s indigenous gas supply and can make a contribution, I would ask you to step forward.”
Baroness Neville-Rolfe praised the work of the “brilliant region” to a packed Members’ Dining Room, representing small supply chain companies, major North Sea operators, wind farm developers and industry organisations, including Deirdre Michie, Chief executive of Oil & Gas UK and Peter Aldous, Waveney MP.
“Nowhere in the UK is there such an energy mix as the East of England.”