The revival of operations in the North Sea has received another major boost with the news that US oil giant Chevron is going ahead with two new projects worth a total of £550 million. The news is set to have a major impact on the subsea industry in the UK as a whole.
The company has awarded the contracts for two planned multi-billion pound developments, Rosebank and Alder, which are set to benefit from the tax breaks unveiled by the government aimed at stimulating investment in challenging projects.
The impact of a resurgence of investment
The energy minister Michael Fallon said: The North Sea is seeing a resurgence of investment. From Aberdeen, Leeds and Newcastle this half a billion pound investment will support hundreds of highly skilled jobs in engineering, design and manufacturing.
The Rosebank field lies 80 miles north-west of the Shetland Islands and the location means that a floating production, storage and offloading vessel will be needed to deal with the 3,600-foot depth of water.
With the potential for 240 million barrels of oil to be produced, Chevron chose to award the contract for work on Rosebank to OneSubsea UK, who are known for the significant role that they played in the aftermath of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster.
Manufacturing work for the project will be carried out at various UK locations, leading Mr. Fallon to comment that the fact it was being carried out in this country meant that 'made in Britain is a hallmark for the highest quality.
The Alder field is 100 miles east from the Scottish mainland and is a different type of project as it contains gas condensate, a light, petrol-like type of oil.
Although it has been known about since 1975, it is only now that technological developments mean it may be economical to develop. Equipment for Alder will be manufactured at sites including Aberdeen and Newcastle by French-owned Technip and Norways Aker Solutions.
The two new projects are positive signs that the oil industry in the North Sea is continuing to build on the recovery of recent years, and although Chevron has yet to take a final decision to proceed with either Rosebank or Alder, the company has stated that both projects were of great importance to Chevrons growth strategy in the UK.
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