September 05, 2017

Leaner, fitter, stronger

Posted by Andrew Bradshaw
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As the international oil and gas industry’s spotlight shines on the North Sea at Offshore Europe this week, one of the key questions being asked is ‘how optimistic are we?’ or ‘how optimistic do we dare to be?’

Two years ago, the prevailing mood at Offshore Europe was one of gloom and uncertainty. Today, thankfully, it appears we may have got past the worst of it. There’s still plenty to play for out there.

At the opening plenary session of Offshore Europe, there was a clear message that while no one is underestimating the challenge the U.K. industry faces, the North Sea is now leaner, fitter and in a stronger position to compete than it was three years ago.

As BP CEO Bob Dudley said: “It has been tough, but we see the North Sea turning things around. Costs are coming down, production is back up. There is plenty of life left in the basin.”

Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden echoed that sentiment. Talking about future global energy demands, he said: “The world will still be relying on the work done here in the North Sea for a long time to come. Shell very much plans to be part of that future.”

I discussed the theme of returning optimism with Oil & Gas U.K.’s upstream policy director, Mike Tholen.

In a new series of Editor’s Eye videos with industry heavyweights commenting on headlines from the show, Tholen emphasises the view that there’s plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

There are still up to 20 billion barrels of oil and gas to recover from our waters, and the North Sea remains attractive to outward investment, according to Tholen. With the 30th licensing round closing later this year, he says there are many exciting opportunities for activity in the North Sea. That’s a positive note if ever there was one.

Tholen concludes with praise for a healthier, fitter industry, better equipped to cope with a lower oil price and a regained confidence as one of the world’s major oil and gas regions once more.

To see all our coverage of Offshore Europe 2017 visit