Shell commits to steady investments in North Sea exploration

30 September 2013

Royal Dutch Shell has said its UK arm is interested in North Sea investments and has been investing £2 billion annually, either in new developments or in the refurbishment of existing activities to upgrade them for the next ten to 20 years.

Shell UK chairman Ed Daniels was quoted by the Daily Telegraph as saying the company is currently a big North Sea producer, representing 14% of UK oil.

Shell UK will continue oil and gas production in the North Sea for decades, as it increases material presence in it.

Daniels' comments come after a study found that 40% of companies do not produce oil in the North Sea. According to the survey by Hannon Westwood of the 131 companies operating in the area, 55 have no reserves.

The companies operating in the North Sea are expected to produce just 1.5 million barrels a day in 2013, while at peak, the total production was 4.5 million barrels annually.

In September 2012, UK Chancellor George Osborne announced tax breaks to encourage investment in older oil and gas fields.

"Shell is making investments that are 20-plus years in duration," Daniels added. "When you're investing for such a long period of time, if you don't have confidence in the stability of a taxation regime, it just becomes impossible for you to make those long-term commitments, which are absolutely critical for the vibrant investment we all want in the North Sea. We've made that absolutely crystal clear to the government."

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