Sunday 14 July 2024
 12.3°C   NNE Fresh Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

News / Could oil discovery be a boon for Sullom Voe?

LOCAL politicians say they hope a major discovery west of Shetland that could produce over one billion barrels of oil will provide a “significant opportunity” for Sullom Voe to attract new business.

Hurricane Energy announced the results of survey work on the Lancaster and Halifax oil fields, which together represent the “largest undeveloped discovery on the UK continental shelf”.

Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael and SIC development committee chairman Alastair Cooper both welcomed the news and called for the Oil and Gas Authority to work to secure the best possible deal for the islands as well as the wider UK.

But environmental groups such as WWF Scotland continue to express concern over future oil exploration in light of the growing threat of climate change.

Hurricane Energy chief executive Dr Robert Trice said the survey revolved around the discovery of a one-kilometre hydrocarbon column at the Halifax well, which is linked to the existing Lancaster field.

The region, known as the “greater Lancaster area”, is located 60 miles west of Shetland and production could start in 2019.

Trice descried it as a “highly significant moment” for the company: “We believe that the greater Lancaster area is a single hydrocarbon accumulation, making it the largest undeveloped discovery on the UK continental shelf. These are exciting times for Hurricane.”

Carmichael said the discovery was “good news” for the oil and gas industry, and hopefully Shetland in particular.

“We need to hear from the company when they expect production to start and what they intend to do with the oil when it is produced,” he said.

“Given its location I hope that there would be a significant opportunity for this to bring business to Sullom Voe.

“Shetland’s economy continues to derive benefit from the oil and gas industry. This discovery shows that there [are] opportunities for years to come.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

 

Cooper said that, while it was a “piece of very, very good news”, he feels negotiations must achieve the “best deal” for Shetland as well as the UK.

“As far as we know, it’s going to be ‘offshore loaded’,” he said. “That’s Hurricane’s concept. The only thing I think is that if there’s significant volumes, it may be that in order to achieve those significant volumes, they’ll have to think about a pipeline.

“A pipeline could realistically come to Shetland, so I’m looking for volumes sufficient to justify a pipeline.”

But with EnQuest in the process of assuming control of the terminal at Sullom Voe from BP, Cooper is concerned that is “not necessarily the best time to do business”.

“I think we need to get the Oil and Gas Authority involved to get the best deal, dare I say, for the UK and hopefully Shetland as well.”

Last week the Oil and Gas Authority awarded 25 new licences for oil exploration, including five to Statoil in partnership with BP for the east of Shetland.

However, the licences were confirmed just weeks after several major oil companies signalled their intent to do more to combat climate change.

Statoil unveiled a climate roadmap, while Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden admitted that “social acceptance” of an oil-based energy system was “disappearing”.

Highlands and Islands list MSP John Finnie, of the Scottish Greens, pointed out there was “a wide consensus that the biggest challenge we all face is climate change”, and his party “will be alone among the political parties in not salivating at this latest find”.

“If we are genuinely committed to driving down emissions and the resulting damage to our planet then we must move our economy away from fossil fuels, a finite resource, to the infinite resource of renewable energy to secure our future,” Finnie said. 

“That transition to a low carbon economy can deliver more and better jobs, 200,000 by 2035, resulting in a safer and more stable economy and stronger communities.”

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said more needed to be done to create jobs from industries which cut emissions.

“Given the growing climate change threat, the opening up new areas for oil and gas exploration is not something we should be breaking out the champagne about,” he said.

“To reduce the risk of dangerous global climate change, science tell us that the vast majority of known fossil fuel reserves need to be left in the ground and not burned.

“What we really need to see is a concerted effort to create jobs from cutting carbon emissions. But, instead we’re seeing clean onshore wind and solar companies getting the rug pulled out from under them while the polluting oil and gas industry gets even more help to drill every last drop from under the North Sea.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.

 
Categories

Newsletters

Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.