BP – Teaming up with fellow operator to unlock UKCS resources

Submitted by BP


Shared exploration costs by cooperating on main wellbore and side-track locations, saving XYZ %

Description of Best Practice

BP has worked cooperatively with fellow operator, GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd (part of the ENGIE Group), to increase exploration activity and help maximise economic recovery from untapped oil and gas resources in a mature play in the Central North Sea. Using advanced seismic data enhancement techniques and careful analysis of preexisting well data, BP’s exploration team identified a prospect named ‘Vorlich’ in the central North Sea. The challenge was to see if they could drill and test this cost-effectively and expeditiously. In the UKCS, the days of simple quick finds are behind us. Finds are now in small and complex structures, which are challenging, requiring a large amount of time and forensic effort to properly understand. The high drilling costs in the basin can also quickly erode the value of smaller opportunities, making new discoveries increasingly rare.

Ronnie Parr, BP Geophysical Advisor, said: “We identified that drilling the main wellbore into the BP acreage was the optimum exploration location, but a side-track into GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd’s neighbouring licence block would allow us to confirm the scale of the resource and its extent, so BP and GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd jointly designed the well to test and appraise Vorlich across both blocks. GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd operated the well in 2014 in partnership with BP which allowed both companies to share exploration costs, resulting in a successful, potentially commercial, oil discovery”. “At a time when exploration in the UKCS is facing severe investment and cost pressures, we believe the Vorlich project has demonstrated that two UK operators can work together to apply their expertise, expedite a project efficiently and maximise recovery of the considerable remaining resource. We believe there is great potential for other operators on the UKCS to find new ways to work together to ensure that oil and gas is not left stranded and undeveloped.”

Other partners in Marconi / Vorlichare: DEA UK SNSLimited, Maersk Oil North Sea UK Limited and Total E&PUK Limited.