Are we experiencing the UK North Sea’s re-awakening?

March 5, 2018

Opinion Piece: Are we experiencing the re-awakening for the UK North Sea? 

Published in Energy Voice, 5th March 2018

By Anna-Hélène Petitt, UK Sales Manager, Tendeka  


Is 2018 the year of the UK North Sea revival? With Brent crude surpassing the $71 a barrel threshold in January this year – the first time since 2014 – positivity is re-emerging. It seems almost daily I read of a new operator acquiring a field in the UK North Sea or an established player reinvesting, such as Shell giving the go ahead to redevelop the Penguins field, the largest investment in the North Sea in six years. 

 “Penguins demonstrates the importance of Shell’s North Sea assets to the company’s upstream portfolio,” explained Andy Brown, Shell’s UK Upstream Director.  “It is another example of how we are unlocking development opportunities, with lower costs.”  

 BP is another example of an international operator reaffirming its commitment to the North Sea. The company is looking to double its North Sea production by 2020 with the announcement of two new oil and gas discoveries in the North Sea and west of Shetland.  

 Following the redundancies across the industry over the past few years, it is clear that a more cautious attitude to spending money has been adopted. If we continue to maintain the way we have always done things, we cannot expect to harness the full potential of the oil in the North Sea.  

 At Tendeka, we also recognise the importance and potential of the UK Continental Shelf. I have recently adopted the role of UK Sales Manager with my focus primarily on establishing relationships with UK operators and highlighting ways we can enhance their hydrocarbon recovery.  Some operators are moving away are from the recently adopted trend of bundled services and realising that it is not necessarily conducive to an effective price-quality ratio and are seeing the appeal of bespoke approaches.   

 We are proud to offer bespoke, dedicated expertise for our clients, and we are known for our innovative technologies and fresh perspective.   One example is a current project where we are testing Chevron’s well fluids for Captain’s heavy oil field in our state-of-the-art laboratory facilities to determine the optimum solution to suit their needs.  

 It is encouraging to see government supported bodies such as the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) being established with the prime purpose to promote collaboration within and between both operators and service companies to boost new technology uptake and accelerate new ways of doing things. 

 One of our core tenets is innovative technology and with help from the OGTC, we recently demonstrated the successful field trial of the industry’s first cloud connected wireless intelligent completion system.  PulseEight enables bi-directional accurate two-way wireless communication in a flowing gas well proved that the data and results could be shared over the cloud to anyone connected. This could revolutionise the way we operate wells, cutting costs of well intervention time and safety concerns. We are grateful for the support from the Austrian operator OMV in this trial and I do see an increasing number of operators looking for differentiators, especially the new entrants in the North Sea who are looking at new ways of optimising production efficiency.  

 No longer is the UK North Sea being seen as an area approaching the end of its life but rather an exciting area in which to invest. With more and more smaller players purchasing brownfield assets – which are no longer written off but given a new lease of life –  the competitiveness of the market is enhanced. 

 We still require a paradigm shift in cultural mindsets but I am confident that this will happen through fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration.   

thumbnail of Energy Voice – Tendeka March 2018