China's role in the UK oil & gas industry has received a boost with the discovery of sizeable gas reserves in the Glengorm field in the North Sea.
Initial estimates are that the field holds reserves of 250 million barrel of oil equivalent (BOE), which would make it the biggest gas field to be discovered in the UK in more than a decade, and ranked as eleventh in size over the past 30 years.
China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) owns 50% of the Glengorm project, with French oil major Total owning 25% and a subsidiary of the Italian company Edison holding the remaining 25%.
Glengorm lies around 200 kilometres east of the Scottish coast. In recent years much of the focus in the UK oil industry has been off the west coast, where last year Total discovered sizeable reserves in the Glendronach field near Shetland. Analysts say that the latest discovery at Glengorm illustrates that there is still potential in traditional gas drilling areas.
CNOOC is likely to be able to use existing platforms and infrastructure to extract the gas, and analysts suggest that the field could be producing within four years.
Nearby are Elgin and Franklin, two high pressure/high temperature gas and condensate fields, which started production in 2001. They are located in the British North Sea, approximately 240 kilometres east of Aberdeen, Scotland. Total operates these fields through its wholly owned affiliate Elgin Franklin Oil & Gas (EFOG) and increased its stake to 46.17% in late 2011.
Hydrocarbons produced from the Elgin, Franklin and West Franklin fields are collected, separated and processed at the central processing facility on the Elgin Production/Utilities/Quarters platform.
"This is a major find and a great example of partner companies, CNOOC International, Total E&P and Edison working together to explore and unlock the potential of the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS)," comments Ross Dornan, market intelligence manager at Oil & Gas UK, the leading representative body for the UK offshore oil and gas industry.
"Glengorm was a challenging prospect to drill, however the combined determination and perseverance of the partners has paid off," says Dornan. "The location of the discovery, in the central North Sea, also provides a valuable opportunity to make use of the UKCS' extensive infrastructure network. Coming so soon after the Glendronach discovery in September, Glengorm is a major milestone towards adding another generation of productive life to the UK North Sea and realizing the ambition of Vision 2035."
CNOOC and Total, ranked fifth and third in the world respectively, by exploration volumes discovered in 2018.