UK oil and gas in dire need for fresh investment

Posted on 27 Sep 2016 by Jonny Williamson

UK oil and gas production grew by more than 10% in 2015, the first increase in 15 years, however major challenges remain, according to Oil & Gas UK’s Economic Report 2016 published today (September 27, 2016).

Oil & Gas UK’s Economic Report 2016 demonstrates the tenacity of the offshore UK oil and gas industry despite difficult market conditions.

It notes that few industries could have achieved the performance improvements the UK oil and gas industry has demonstrated over the past 18 months.

The sectors determination has seen the cost of extracting a barrel of oil or gas from the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) cut to nearly half its cost since 2014 and a 10.4% increase in production.

Despite this good news, major challenges remain. The supply chain has seen an average 30% fall in revenues since 2014 and ongoing job losses – some 120,000 are expected to have been lost over the past two years.

Deirdre Michie - Oil & Gas UK, chief executive
Deirdre Michie, chief executive, Oil & Gas UK.

Oil & Gas UK’s chief executive, Deirdre Michie commented: “The UKCS is in urgent need of fresh investment to boost exploration and drive activity, particularly for the supply chain.

“Exploration has fallen to record lows and little new investment has been approved in 2016, and 2017 looks no better. Increased asset trading is one area that could free up new investment by facilitating the trading of late-life assets.

“In light of this I am calling on governments today to vigorously champion the UK oil and gas industry, by providing certainty in our fiscal regime, encouraging new entrants to the market and recognising our supply chain as vitally important to the economy.

“The evidence in the report demonstrates what our industry can achieve when the basin’s competitiveness is addressed and the tax regime reformed. Now it is time for the UK and Scottish governments to reinforce their efforts to promote the UKCS, nationally and internationally, as an attractive investment with world leading capability from front end exploration to late life operations.”

Industry will continue to build on the achievements to date of cost reduction and efficiency improvement and will require the efforts of governments, HM Treasury, the Oil and Gas Authority and the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to continue.

Oil & Gas UK is requesting:

  • The UK government re-affirm its continued commitment to the Driving Investment fiscal strategy which recognises the need for a more competitive, simple and predictable fiscal regime as the basin continues to mature.
  • HM Treasury complete the constructive work on decommissioning tax relief over recent budgets by introducing measures to enable tax relief to be transferred upon an asset sale to facilitate the trading of assets, encouraging new entrants to the market and liberating new investment for buyers and sellers alike.
  • The UK and Scottish governments promote the increasing competitiveness of the basin as well as the capability of the UK’s oil and gas supply chain, both nationally and internationally, as part of the UK’s new industrial strategy, recognising our sector as a key element of the economy.