Future of North Sea oil and gas ‘difficult to predict’



Sunrise at an offshore oil platform on the North Sea, in the Norwegian sector

It is difficult to predict the future of the North Sea oil and gas industry.
That was the message of Elisabeth Proust, Managing Director at Total E&P UK at the International Petroleum (IP) Week conference in London.
She said Total has so far been very successful in building its portfolio in the North Sea, with millions of pounds being invested and jobs created but the figures are “declining”.
She believes production in the region will decrease and the number of fields being decommissioned will rise, “with less platforms, pipelines and less people”.
However Ms Proust added: “That doesn’t mean we have no hope for the future of the North Sea.”
She said the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) and industry must work together to identify “how we can keep and develop further economical production”, adding: “We should not wait and hope prices will increase.”
The UK’s “unstable” fiscal regime is said to be one of the challenges for the industry.
Ms Proust went on: “The request of the industry is again for the government to make efforts on the taxes but also to guarantee that these taxes, the new tax system regime will stay in place. This is even more important to give back confidence in the major companies to invest.”
However she believes the sector can tackle the challenges in the North Sea and make it profitable.
Total started pumping gas from the Laggan-Tormore fields earlier this week.