Subsea UK, the organisation representing the UK’s £9billion subsea industry has reached a major milestone with its 300th member. Independent oil and gas operator, Apache North Sea, has joined Subsea UK as oil and gas production from subsea wells in the UKCS continues to increase.
Apache North Sea is now the 4thlargest producer and has the highest operational efficiency of any operator in the UKCS. Much of its production is now harvested from its subsea portfolio with over 40 subsea wells and 120 pipelines including a major export pipeline.
Apache’s subsea infrastructure continues to grow, with major development work in progress to expand existing assets and bring on new fields. With a Heavy Duty Jack-Up and two Semi-Submersible rigs under contract next year; development drilling, appraisal and exploration targets are all planned to further expand the Apache subsea presence.
Apache’s commitment to safety in the North Sea was also recently further demonstrated by successfully installing a new Subsea Isolation Valve in the 36” Forties Pipeline System to protect the Forties Charlie platform, Subsea UK says in a press release. This highly complex project was completed without incident and ahead of the scheduled shutdown.
Subsea UK was established in 2004 to champion the world-leading capability and experience of the sector which now generates £9billion in annual revenues and supports over 60,000 jobs across the UK.
Neil Gordon, chief executive of Subsea UK, says: “Reaching membership of 300 companies is a significant milestone and demonstrates the reach and depth of our representation across the sector’s entire supply chain from oil and gas operators to small, niche technology companies. Our members account for around 90% of the overall revenues generated by the industry in the UK.
“Almost 45% of UKCS production comes from subsea wells with this expected to rise to 70% in the medium-term and our oil and gas operators are able to engage effectively with the supply chain through membership of Subsea UK.”
Today’s announcement comes at a time of reflection for the subsea industry, according to Gordon, who believes that a degree of uncertainty around fiscal and political issues has slowed the market down slightly.
“The industry has grown at a phenomenal rate for a number of years and while order books for 2014 and 2015 are strong, there are signs of a slight slow-down in the rate of growth. We fully expect this to pick up again after the referendum debate and the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget Statement where we expect to see greater fiscal incentivisation to stimulate exploration and production. Maximising economic recovery is a focus for all industry stakeholders and subsea skills and technology have a pivotal role to play in achieving it.”
Apache North Sea is an ideal example of an operator using existing infrastructure to successfully bring the smaller fields such as Bacchus, Maule and Tonto into production in the Forties area in a highly cost-effective manner explains Gordon.
He added: “With major operators focused on high risk, high reward models, maximising recovery in smaller reservoirs is a challenge which the independent, niche and specialist operators within the industry are keen to take on and achieve.
“With decommissioning liabilities changing and a number of assets in the province for sale, we expect to see a significant shift in the industry. Our role, as ever, will be to ensure that our members are able to make the most of the opportunities that this will afford.”
Subsea UK oversees a range of initiatives and programmes which seek to raise the profile of the sector and to help companies grow and develop both at home and overseas.
Alongside business development support and networking opportunities in the UK and further afield, members have access to databases of industry information on global projects and contracts.