New technology to extend life of North Sea oilfields. Reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated


There has been some negative talk of the North Sea in recent months including from a very ‘green’ Edinburgh University professor but leaders in the industry have known better. In particular, they have realised that new technologies will have a part to play in extending the life of fields. See:

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?

The Captain field, 90 miles off Aberdeen was discovered in 1977 and 40 years later is producing 24 000 barrels of oil and 3 million cubic feet of gas per day. Now the majority owner, Chevron, plans to pump polymers in to make the oil less viscous and thus flow more easily. Recovery is expected to be increased by 5-7% using this method. It’s thought the same technology could also extend the life of other North Sea fields

Mainstream media reporting on the North Sea rarely seem to be aware of this kind of thing.


6 thoughts on “New technology to extend life of North Sea oilfields. Reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated

  1. Ludo Thierry October 20, 2017 / 5:01 pm

    Hi John – you observe – “Mainstream media reporting on the North Sea rarely seem to be aware of this kind of thing”. – Your restraint is admirable, ludo


  2. William Henderson October 21, 2017 / 8:45 am


    Maybe it’s just my old suspicious mind at work again, but I would really like to know exactly what are these ‘polymers’ they will inject into the wells.

    We are already surrounded in our daily lives with lots of synthetic polymers (plastics etc.) which have never been fully assessed for their long term environmental and health effects.


    • Alasdair Macdonald October 22, 2017 / 11:11 am

      I share William Henderson’s concern on the use of such polymers and their suspected malign effect on the environment.

      Nevertheless, there is a valid reason for John Robertson publishing this because it is a riposte to the unionist mendacity that Scotland cannot be a feasible independent country. Oil played a significant role in the recent independence referendum as it had done prior to the 1979 referendum and the suppressed Government paper on the benefits to Scotland of these oil and gas reserves. From the start of the flow from the oilfields, we were continuously told that ‘they will run out’. The implication was that we should not get ideas above our station about such wealth being used to benefit all of us. We would get what Westminster deemed we would get and that would be very little.

      Following 2014 the global price of oil fell sharply. This was greeted with ecstatic glee by unionists, because, with GETS indicating a ‘black hole’ of £15 billion this loss of value meant it could only get worse as Scotland (not the UK would face the crippling cost of closing down the fields. This glee was misplaced because oil has always been subject to market fluctuations and prices go up and down. But, in the unionist narrative, Scottish oil, alone of all commodities in the world could only go down in price. Not, only was it going down in price but there was decreasingly less of it and because the price was permanently depressed (permanent, because it is Scottish and bad) there was no reason for companies such as Chevron to invest and innovate. Therefore, scotland was THRICE fucked.

      The fact that oil prices have rebounded, the fact that there are new fields in the Atlantic being discovered and coming on stream and the fact that companies like Chevron are investing all give a collective knee in the goodies to the unionist lie.

      It is facts such as these which indicate the importance of this article as a counterblast to the grim lies of the unionists.

      Of course, there is a wider argument about fossil fuels and the mounting evidence of the effects of carbon dioxide and other by products on climate and public health and the technologies being used such as that which Mr Henderson raises concerns. Fracking has been banned in Scotland as a result of those concerns.

      Of course, many unionists are climate change deniers. They want oil and gas exploration and exploitation in Scottish waters to continue apace and for the largesse to go mainly to the City of London. They want the ban on fracking lifted. And this is not just the City slickers. As we heard from Mr Jim Sillars trade unionists and the poor should be opposing it, too.

      The only consistency in the unionist argument is that anything which can be used to attack the concept of independence should be used even when these arguments are coming from philosophies which oppose each other. The mainstream media will never point out these contradictions.

      They oppose independence because they want those hydrocarbon assets. They want the 51% of UK territory that S Outland comprises. They want the 25% of Europe’s renewables that lie in that territory, they want the huge fishery. They want a place to store their missiles so that they can willie-wave. They want the high quality food produce. They want the water. These are the reasons why they are so concerned about this ‘basket case’ country and it’s ‘whingeing subsidy junkies’.


      • Alasdair Macdonald October 22, 2017 / 11:19 am

        Predictive text must be unionist as it has introduced several howlers – it should be GERS and not GETS, it should be goolies and not goodies, it should be Scotland and not S Outland.

        In fact it actually changed my opening ‘Predictive’ to ‘reductive’!

        Am I paranoid?



  3. johnrobertson834 October 22, 2017 / 8:39 am

    Ah, my ignorance of such things is revealed. Hadn’t been aware. Had a quick look around. They do seem very worrisome in a general sense but I couldn’t find out anything specific to this use.


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