UK upstream: 2015 in review

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Report summary

The UK upstream sector suffered along with pretty much every producing country in 2015. But there were some silver linings among the clouds. Investment was down, but not as much as was feared at the beginning of the year. M&A value traded was also surprisingly robust in a falling oil price year. Exploration and appraisal drilling did drop as expected, but this matters less when the volumes discovered were higher than they have been in years. All of this was against the backdrop of some of the biggest tax and regulatory changes ever seen in the UKCS.

What's included

This report contains

  • Document

    UK upstream: 2015 in review

    PDF 494.95 KB

Table of contents

      • UKCS investment starts to tail off
      • Majority of spend on incremental projects
      • but vital new development projects were also progressed
      • Majors are still the biggest investors
      • Low oil price had little impact on development drilling
      • But impact of cost cutting is already evident
      • Fields brought onstream in 2015
      • Key projects delayed
      • Culzean receives sanction despite low oil price
    • Production
      • E&A activity down, but crucially discovered volumes are up
      • Well success rates increased in 2015
      • 2015 discoveries
        • Central North Sea (CNS)
        • Northern North Sea (NNS)
        • Southern Gas Basin (SGB)
        • Atlantic Margin
      • Corporate E&A round-up
      • 28th Offshore Licensing Round
      • 14th Onshore Licensing Round leads to lots of commitment wells
      • Government responds to tough times for the UKCS with new fiscal terms
      • New regulator takes shape
      • Total's asset disposals account for 45% of total value traded
      • New entrants to the UKCS despite an average oil price of US$43/bbl
      • But distressed sales and private equity deals have been lower than anticipated

Tables and charts

This report includes 22 images and tables including:


  • Fields brought onstream in 2015
  • New field approvals in 2015
  • 2015 discoveries breakdown
  • Well spuds by operator
  • UK focused deals in 2015


  • UK value traded vs Brent oil price 2001-2015
  • Capital investment 2006 – 2015*
  • Top 10 projects by capital investment 2015
  • Top 10 companies by capital investment 2015
  • 2015 allocation of capex
  • Development wells completed
  • Jack-up contracts
  • Semi-sub contracts
  • Reserves brought onstream from 1997 to 2015
  • E&A spuds and volumes discovered 2006-2015
  • E&A drilling by region in 2015
  • Well success rates 1965-2015
  • Operated E&A wells by company 2006-2015
  • Offshore licence awards since 2004
  • Number of offshore firm wells
  • Number of deals, by buyer type, 2011-2015
  • Number of deals, by seller type, 2011-2015

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