UK Oil and Gas Authority Launch Exploration Data Competition

A recent Cross Sector Efficiency Study by the Oil & Gas Industry Council and PwC stated “Only fundamental change to the way businesses work and interact will generate the level of sustainable change necessary to compete for international investment in the North Sea and maximise recovery.”  In an attempt to affect this type of change, the UK Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has launched a competition to find new and innovative ways to use extensive seismic data collected on the Rockall Basin and Mid North Sea High.  Scientists and engineers will have the chance to compete for a slice of the £500,000 worth of funding available to develop new technology to exploit these findings.

The Competition

The competition encourages entrants to “develop innovative interpretations and products potentially using the data acquired during last year's successful £20 million Government-funded seismic surveys of the Rockall Basin and Mid North Sea High (MNSH) areas.”Successful applicants will be given up to £30,000 in funding to carry out their initial analysis along with access to around 40,000km of seismic, gravity, magnetic and well data.The two winning candidates will then receive approximately £100,000 to develop their project into a final product for the OGA to use.Oonagh Werngren, the operations director said, “This Exploration Licence competition provides the industry with a valuable opportunity to both develop new perspectives on key areas of the UK Continental Shelf and re-evaluate how we can use data to more efficiently to unlock the remaining exploration targets.”

Potential Players

A Department of Energy and Climate Change report describes Rockall Basin as “a lightly explored, very challenging, mainly deep-water, frontier area with no existing infrastructure.”Previous studies have demonstrated the existence of a working hydrocarbon system in this area and the report concludes that this basin is likely to contain “significant volumes of coal-measure and perhaps also oil-shale source rocks.”Similarly, geoscience company CGG described the Mid North Sea High as “underexplored” and believes that “a carboniferous petroleum system could be in place but it has not yet been made evident by successful drilling.”CGG has stated that, “the actual quantity of recoverable hydrocarbons is still highly speculative, but the potential is certainly high enough to attract the interest of oil and gas explorers.”  It is exactly this potential which has prompted the OGA to initiate this competition.

The Future?

One of the major targets set out by the Cross Sector Efficiency Study was “developing an innovation culture and managing change effectively – constantly looking for better ways of doing things, and innovating across technology and processes.”This is what the OGA is looking to achieve with this competition to fully exploit the potential of the Rockall Basin and Mid North Sea High as new sites of oil and gas exploration.As one of the only UK suppliers to the oil and gas industry Exi Flow is in an excellent position to assist with innovation in this arena.  To see what we can do for your operation call 01243 554920.