Research Presentation

Outlook for the UKCS

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Report summary

The UKCS is a critical juncture. Recent exploration has been disappointing, with poor exploration success rates and volumes discovered at levels below commercial thresholds. This, along with high costs, contributed to a declining capital investment outlook, even before the slump in oil price. Following the drop in oil price, we present our revised outlook for capital spend and assess how robust the pre-sanction projects underpinning this profile are. Positively, production stabilised in 2014 and we expect a modest rise out to around 2018 as some key new projects are brought onstream. However, downside risk remains from delays to new project sanctions, poor project execution and exploration success. The decommissioning glut is looming. We estimate that around £3 billion has been spend on decommissioning so far, with £54 billion still to be spent.

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