During the next five years, it is predicted that £44 billion will be invested by oil and gas firms in new projects in the North Sea, emphasising the strong level of activity taking place in the region. Roughly 40 years after the initial production of oil and gas in the area, the UK continental shelf continues to be one of the top ten regions in the world for investment. A report by Wood MacKenzie energy consultancy has defined the UK North Sea as being highly successful with new project expenditure reaching levels that were previously recorded in the 1970’s, after taking inflation into account. The forecast is subject to plans by companies for the development of new fields and the extension of existing resources and that projects on the agenda will go ahead.
After capital investment in the North Sea soared to £11bn last year, it was predicted in February by Oil and Gas UK that this would reach £13bn this year. According to the industry body, investments amounting to almost £100bn were in the plans of companies, covering an unspecified time scale. Efforts by oil and gas businesses to increase output and benefit from a robust global demand have contributed to the upsurge. In the fields of heavy oil production, ongoing development in technology has enabled assets that were previously considered to be uneconomic, to progress further. Acreage in the UK North Sea is held by about 126 companies, which is higher than any other European country. According to Wood MacKenzie, the unstable tax situation is still a worry, as in the past ten years there have been three tax increases. However, since the last increase in 2011, the Government has allowed for some adjustments. From the time of the initial North Sea oil fields development, almost £300bn had been injected into upstream progress.
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