New support measures for the North Sea offshore oil and gas sector have been announced by David Cameron. Amongst the new measures announced included:
- the oil and gas authority to publish a decommissioning plan by early Summer to help the £15bn Aberdeen service sector shift to be at the centre of the new global market for decommissioning;
- £20m of new funding for seismic surveys as part of new exploration activity on the UKCS with data to be made public and £1m allocated to innovative use of data to bring on new fields;
- appointment of an oil and gas Ambassador ensuring best possible access to overseas markets, promote the North Sea globally, and increase inward investment;
- a new strategy for maximising economic recovery (MER) of offshore oil and gas in the UK helping to increase value form the UKCS through improved collaboration between companies whilst also improving cost efficiency;
- Innovate UK launching an ‘energy game changer’ making £1.5m available to micro businesses and SME’s from outside the energy sector, to develop solutions to problems set by the industry, for example in areas like monitoring corrosion under installation, vessel inspection and use of sensors and data;
- £700k to be invested in the development of world class 3D Visualisation facilities at Lyell Centre at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh; and
- an additional £1m for the Oil and Gas Centre for Doctoral Training (led by Heriot Watt University with Edinburgh and Aberdeen universities also involved) taking the total number of PhD students funded under the scheme to 120 by 2017.
The announcements come on the back of the news from oil and gas operator, Total, that it plans to start drilling a exploration well on a prospect named Sween, located to the east of the Shetland Islands, later this year.
To read more about what Total are doing on the Shetland Islands, click here