Drillers make biggest North Sea find in a decade

A major North Sea discovery has been announced, uncovering what is understood to be the biggest find in the region in more than a decade.

Chinese oil company Cnooc announced a new discovery on the Glengorm prospect, located in the UK Central North Sea, which experts said could be the biggest find since the Culzean gas field 11 years earlier.

Project partner Total E&P UK, which owns a 25 per cent working interest in the field, estimates its resources could produce 250 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe).

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Cnooc holds a 50 per cent stake, while the remaining 25 per cent is owned by Euroil, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Edison E&P.

Wood Mackenzie said the find shows 'there is still life in some of the more mature UK waters'. Picture: Getty Images

Kevin McLachlan, Total’s senior vice president of exploration, said: “Following the recent Glendronach discovery, West of Shetland in the UK, Glengorm is another great success for Total in the North Sea, with results at the top end of expectations and a high condensate yield in addition to the gas.

“Our strong position in the region will enable us to leverage existing infrastructures nearby and optimise the development of this discovery. Glengorm is an achievement that demonstrates our capacity to create value in a mature environment thanks to our in-depth understanding of the basin.”

Kevin Swann, a senior analyst with Wood Mackenzie’s North Sea upstream team, said: “At 250 million boe, Cnooc’s Glengorm is the largest gas discovery in the UK since Culzean in 2008.

“There is a lot of hype around frontier areas like West of Shetland, where Total discovered the Glendronach field last year. But Glengorm is in the Central North Sea and this find shows there is still life in some of the more mature UK waters.

“This is a good start to what could prove to be a pivotal year for UK exploration with several high impact wells in the plan.”

Oil & Gas Authority chief executive Andy Samuel added: “This is very exciting news; Glengorm was first mapped as a prospect around 20 years ago and it is great to see Cnooc taking up the exploration opportunity and completing a difficult high-pressure, high-temperature exploration well.”