Claims that North Sea gas could run out in a decade labelled '˜poor'

Oil and gas industry leaders have rubbished a University of Edinburgh academic report claiming Britain's energy reserves could run out within a decade.

Industry leaders have rejected claims the North Sea's energy reserves could run out within a decade.

The university’s study of output from offshore fields, largely made up of those in the North Sea, had estimated that only 10 per cent of the country’s original recoverable oil and gas reserves remained and could be exhausted within 10 years.

The analysis had also claimed that fracking would barely be economically feasible in the UK, especially in Scotland.

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But the academic report has been challenged by several industry leaders, with UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG) chief executive Ken Cronin saying “poor assumptions” had been made in the research.

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“There are some poor assumptions made in the research around revenue per well,” he said.

“The 1.8 billion cubic feet estimated ultimate recovery assumption includes some of the poorer performing wells of the US.

“Analysis of the top six performing shale gas plays of the US reveals an average EUR of 5bcf, over double the estimate. The use of this data noticeably reduces the inflated percentage cost projections conducted in this study.”

Professor Roy Thompson of the University of Edinburgh Geosciences school had made the dire energy warnings in September.

“The UK urgently needs a bold energy transition plan, instead of trusting to dwindling fossil fuel reserves and possible fracking,” Prof Thompson said.

About 43 per cent of Britain’s gas is sourced from the North Sea and the East Irish Sea.

Spirit Energy, a joint venture that combines Centrica plc’s E&P business with Oslo-based Bayerngas Norge AS, announced last week it was planning to invest up to £600 million a year in the North Sea. The announcement was viewed by industry leaders as a strong vote of confidence in the North Sea’s future.

Deirdre Michie, Oil & Gas UK chief executive, said: “There are up to 20 billion barrels of oil and gas resources still to be recovered on the UK continental shelf based on production forecasts provided by the Oil and Gas Authority.

“Production has increased over the last two years and we expect that to continue to rise.”