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New oil and gas

PLANS for a new oil field west of Shetland have been approved by the UK government.

The owners of the £530 million Solan development, Premier (60 per cent) and Chrysaor (40 per cent), hope to start production at a rate of 24,000 barrels a day at the end of 2014.

The field is expected to produce 40 millions barrels of oil in its lifetime.

The news comes the same week that French oil giant Total announced production starting on its Islay gas field in the North Sea north east of Shetland. The field has estimated reserves of nearly 17 million barrels of oil equivalent and is already producing 15,000 a day.

Total say their efforts to plug the gas leak at the Elgin platform east of Aberdeen are going according to plan, with a relief well being drilled and other preparations to control the well under way.