Exploration of 400m barrel Scottish oil field gets go-ahead

The government has given the green light for the development of the giant Buzzard oil field in the Moray Firth which could yield over 400 million barrels of oil.

Energy Minister Stephen Timms today gave formal consent to EnCana (UK) Ltd and its co-venturers to begin the development today.

Mr Timms said that with estimates in excess of 400 million barrels of oil to be recovered, and overall investment of £1.35 billion - the largest in the UK North Sea in the last decade, and equivalent to around a third of the industry total annual expenditure - Buzzard will make a "significant contribution to the UK's oil production and to the economy".

"I am delighted to give this development the go-ahead. Buzzard has proved that the UK Continental Shelf is still a vibrant and rewarding area for the oil industry," he said.

"Today's announcement is proof positive of the remaining potential of the North Sea and we will continue to work closely with industry to make sure this potential is fully realised. I hope that Buzzard will act as a beacon to attract new entrants and renewed commitment from existing players."

The Buzzard oil field is located 55 kms off the coast of Scotland in the Moray Firth. Three platforms will be installed to exploit oil reserves estimated.

With production from the field expected at the end of 2006, and a field life of some 20 years, Buzzard could be one of the most significant oil producers for the next two decades. Oil from the field will be exported via the Forties Pipeline System.

Alan Booth, EnCana UK's Managing Director, said that when completed, Buzzard is expected to be a "hub for a number of existing and potential discoveries in the area where EnCana has a significant acreage position as operator of several surrounding blocks".

He added: "We plan to enhance this major development through an ambitious and focused exploration programme designed to capture additional, neighbouring reserves that we hope will keep Buzzard running at capacity for many years."


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