An Edinburgh University Professor says North Sea oil and gas has only ten years left while the Wall Street Journal describes it as an ‘oil hot spot’ and Oil and Gas UK doesn’t recognise his figures. Who’s right?


Professor Thompson of Edinburgh University’s school of Geosciences said: ‘an analysis of production decline in offshore fields showed the industry is entering its final decade.’

Before going any further, I take it he’s not referring to or considering the massive discoveries already made west of Shetland? See:

Estimates of Scotland’s oil reserves West of Shetland now massively increased to around 8 billion barrels! ‘A super-resource now on the cards.’

Professor Thompson says also: ‘we need a bold transition to renewables, energy storage, improved insulation and energy efficiencies.’ I agree but aren’t we making good progress on this already? See:

Scotland’s energy 100% renewable by 2030?

Returning to the main point though, that we have only 10 years left. Already the Industry body, Oil and Gas UK (OGUK), has challenged the prediction that North Sea oil and gas reserves will run out in 10 years. Here’s an extract from their response in Energy Voice:

‘BP’s Quad 204 project started producing in May and is expected to deliver 450million barrels of oil equivalent through to 2035 and beyond. Statoil’s Mariner field, slated for first oil next year, could pump out 250million barrels over a 30-year period. BP’s Clair Ridge project is designed to continue producing until 2050.’

Add to the above evidence, the Wall Street Journal’s report yesterday headed:

‘The North Sea Is Suddenly, Surprisingly, an Oil Hot Spot’

See this extract from their report:

‘After almost a decade of decline, the North Sea energy industry is experiencing a flurry of deal activity. Major oil players say they are looking at growth in the area, and private-equity funds have built up war chests totalling $15 billion for North Sea acquisitions. Investors have sunk more than $16 billion so far this year into European deals for assets mostly located in the North Sea, a flurry that far outstrips energy deal activity in all but American shale country and Canada’s oil sands, according to Edinburgh-based energy-consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. The biggest deal came last month, with Total SA’s $5 billion purchase of A.P. Moeller-Maersk ’s North Sea-focused oil-and-gas business. Royal Dutch Shell PLC is planning to spend $600 million to $1 billion a year in the North Sea in the coming years, while BP PLC expects to double its production there by 2020.’

Is it possible that the Professor’s team’s enthusiasm for renewables, which I share, has made them a little unprofessional or careless in their assessment of oil reserves? They’re academics. They wouldn’t be selective with the evidence just to make a point, would they? Prof Thompson is English. He wouldn’t be strongly opposed to Scottish independence would he?


9 thoughts on “An Edinburgh University Professor says North Sea oil and gas has only ten years left while the Wall Street Journal describes it as an ‘oil hot spot’ and Oil and Gas UK doesn’t recognise his figures. Who’s right?

  1. macgilleleabhar September 21, 2017 / 9:46 am

    I live north west of Aberdeen and judging by the economic activity in the area everyone is out of step except Professor Thompson. Even without oil in the North Sea Scotland is an established oil industry manufacturing and maintenance base serving the worldwide energy industry.


  2. johnrobertson834 September 21, 2017 / 10:21 am

    you have to wonder what their motives are? North-west of Aberdeen. My sister-in-law lives in near Tarves

    Liked by 1 person

    • macgilleleabhar September 21, 2017 / 10:56 am

      Tarves is a nice place and has expanded in recent years but not as much as Inverurie,where I live,or Kintore. In the last 40 years they have both probably doubled in size.
      I like Ayrshire and have a great respect and debt of gratitude to Crosshouse Hospital as their Cochlear team gave me my hearing back.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. William Henderson September 21, 2017 / 12:07 pm

    Hello John,

    On your final paragraph – Perhaps we should be a little charitable and concede that there may be a case of mis-reporting. Could it be that an inexperienced journalist has mistaken flatulence for informed comment?



    • johnrobertson834 September 21, 2017 / 2:11 pm

      I worked with researchers for 30 plus years and review submissions to journals. Many researchers hide their motives even from themselves at times.


    • johnrobertson834 September 21, 2017 / 3:51 pm

      I can be a bit of a zealot. Maybe a we Aspberger streak of black and white thinking?


  4. Brian September 21, 2017 / 4:25 pm

    See Wings . . . . 7 similar warnings since 1979. These guys must be Michael Gove type experts…people “who say they know but get it consistently wrong”. And as you have so vividly illustrated, the warning flies in the face of the evidence.


    • johnrobertson834 September 21, 2017 / 6:09 pm

      Thanks Brian. The most qualified of men can still self-deceive. Done it myself.


  5. Alan September 21, 2017 / 10:11 pm

    Trying not to be conspiracy minded, but might just be aimed at the soft no vote. Also picked up on a few comments on the unreliability of renewable sources (wind and sun). All backed up by concerned reports around the increasing amount of solar derived energy going into the grid and the detrimental effect that the solar eclipse could Have! Though it might be a plant when the interviewer/presenter didn’t the obvious “it gets dark every night, ya tube”.


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