The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has estimated that an additional 900 million barrels of oil could be extracted from the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) by increasing the recovery factor (RF) of a prioritised selection of large oil fields.
Recovery factor is the overall proportion of oil expected to be extracted from the UKCS. The OGA’s Recovery Factor Benchmarking report, published on 7 September 2017, presents an estimate of the current expected recovery factor for UKCS oil fields and highlights the ongoing work the OGA is undertaking with industry to identify how economic recovery can be increased.
The current forecast recovery factor of the UKCS is around 43 per cent, which means that over half of the oil that has been discovered is left within the reservoir. Over time, average benchmarked RF performance has increased; but with field complexity also increasing over time, the result is that the overall RF has not significantly changed. Small improvements to these rates could make a major difference to overall reserves, fully aligned with Maximising Economic Recovery UK.
By looking at the potential of a number of prioritised fields, the OGA estimates that an additional 900 million barrels of oil could potentially be produced through increases to RF as a result of improved asset stewardship.