North Sea oil and gas related employment prospects have been given a major boost with news of a new field being discovered in the UK sector.
BP and GDF Suez announced the discovery of the new field in the central North Sea on Thursday. The new field, spanning adjacent blocks operated separately by BP and GDF Suez, is being called Marconi by GDF but BP refers to it as Vorlich. It has been flow tested at a maximum rate of 5,350 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
The well was drilled by GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd as operator, with the Transocean Galaxy II jack-up rig under a joint well agreement between the two licence groups.
BP said it is too early to confirm what the implications of the discovery could be in terms of job creation.
GDF Suez already employs over 300 staff and contractors on North Sea projects, based in Aberdeen and London. BP has a £10Bn North Sea investment project under way with £7Bn of that to be spent over the next five years.
GDF Suez E&P UK managing director Ruud Zoon said: "The discovery is our third successful well this year and demonstrates a continuing commitment by GDF Suez to an active exploration and appraisal drilling programme on the UK Continental Shelf."
Trevor Garlick, regional president of BP North Sea, said: "As BP marks its 50th year in the North Sea and as the industry looks to maximise economic recovery from the basin, increasing exploration activity and finding new ways to collaborate will be critical to realising remaining potential. This discovery is a great example of both."
Industry body Oil & Gas UK welcomed the discovery. Operations director Oonagh Werngren said: "At a time when exploration in the UKCS (UK Continental Shelf) is facing severe investment and cost pressures,
“it is heartening to see two UK explorers apply their expertise to understand the risks of the CNS (Central North Sea) and demonstrate that there are still significant economic plays to be developed within the basin.”