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BP announces North Sea discoveries with Shell, Chevron

Photo: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND, Stringer: Shell is a shareholder in the Elgin rig, shown here operating 150 miles from Aberdeen in the North Sea in 2012. Shell is selling stakes in 10 North Sea fields.

BP said it struck oil in its Capercaillie prospect in the central North Sea east of Scotland, as well as the northwestern corner of the North Sea in the Achmelvich well, the latter of which is the partnership with Shell and Chevron.

The discoveries lend optimism to a slowly rebounding offshore energy sector, especially in the North Sea that’s so critical for Europe’s oil supplies.

“These are exciting times for BP in the North Sea as we lay the foundations of a refreshed and revitalized business that we expect to double production to 200,000 barrels a day by 2020 and keep producing beyond 2050,” said Mark Thomas, BP’s North Sea regional president.

The announcement is great news for the United Kingdom’s Continental Shelf, but the substance of these discoveries remains unknown for now until further work is done, said Fiona Legate, a senior analyst for the North Sea at Wood Mackenzie.

“The majors still have appetite for mature plays and as we can see, there is life in the old dog yet,” Legate said of the news.

BP is the sole owner of Capercaillie, which discovered light oil and condensate after being drilled to more than 12,000 feet. The Achmelvich also struck oil, but at nearly 8,000 feet.

In the Achmelvich, Shell owns a 28 percent stake and Chevron holds 19.4 percent.

Both wells were drilled by Transocean’s Paul B. Loyd Jr. rig.

BP said it is assessing the options for moving forward with both sites, including subsea tiebacks to connect them to existing platforms and pipelines.

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