The Scotsman: Botts scotches talk of North Sea retreat: “TOM Botts, the chief executive of Shell Expro in Europe, yesterday firmly scotched suggestions that the oil giant is preparing to retreat from the North Sea. It was revealed that the company is planning to invest $4 billion (£2.2bn) a year in its European operations, including the UK Continental Shelf, for at least the next ten years…” (ShellNews.net) 12 Nov 04
TOM Botts, the chief executive of Shell Expro in Europe, yesterday firmly scotched suggestions that the oil giant is preparing to retreat from the North Sea.
It was revealed that the company is planning to invest $4 billion (£2.2bn) a year in its European operations, including the UK Continental Shelf, for at least the next ten years and is also set to embark on an ambitious programme of exploration drilling for potential new developments near existing fields and in the high risk and high rewards waters of the Atlantic frontier.
Botts, speaking at the giant St Fergus gas terminal in Aberdeenshire following the official inauguration of the new Goldeneye gas field by the Princess Royal, said the company’s North Sea oil and gas fields remained a vital component of the company’s worldwide portfolio.
He said: "The idea that the North Sea is old and dying and majors want to leave and everybody is ready to turn off the lights is nonsense. There is at least as much to play for in the UKCS as has already been produced."
Botts admitted that future reserves would come in smaller packages and that recovery would present technically difficult problems which would have to be overcome.
He continued: "We know that the UKCS has relatively high costs compared to the other basins around the world.
"But we are maintaining this business and will continue to invest in this business to maintain it at current rates for at least the next nine or ten years. We plan to invest to extend the plateau that we have achieved in Europe and to maintain production at around one million barrels per day."
The company, he said, had already invested $50bn in its 50 UK oil and gas fields and accepted that continuing major investment would be required.
And Botts stressed: "The opportunities in the North Sea lend themselves to all sorts of players - big players and small players. We should not fall into the trap that [the North Sea] is no longer a big player game. It is going to take all sorts to get all the resources."
He was backed by Greig Hill, Shell Expro’s production director, who declared: "There is still a huge prize to play for in the North Sea.
"We are in healthy middle age. There are a lot of reserves left and technology is going to be a big part of the story. We are a good business for the UK and the UK is good business for Shell."