North Sea activity “subdued” after prolonged winter

Posted on 19 Apr 2013

After a strong last quarter in 2012, activity in the North Sea slowed down due to a longer-than-usual winter in the UK.

According to Deloitte, the number of oil and gas deals, as well as the amount of drilling, decreased in the first quarter of 2013. In the first three months of the year, nine new wells were drilled; it was 19 in Q4 2012.

An increase in drilling and deals, however, is expected in the rest of this year.

Farm-in agreements (those under which one company takes a stake in another’s field) represented 36% of the deals completed in the first three months of the year: the recent 27th licensing round attracted new players to the UK Continental Shelf.

There were 19 deals compared to the 23 in the same period in 2012.

In the first quarter of the year, the Department of Energy and Climate Change approved two fields, with three fields coming on-stream.

Derek Henderson, a senior partner at Deloitte in Aberdeen, commented: “Generally activity eases during the first quarter each year and, based on the second half of last year, we would certainly expect later spring and summer to demonstrate a return to the kind of momentum we saw then.”

He added that the oil price is still favourable and there are several incentives in place to encourage investment in the North Sea.