2018 onshore oil production down – under 2% of UK total

180324 singleton dod3

IGas Singleton oil site in West Sussex, 24 March 2018. Photo: DrillOrDrop

UK onshore oil production fell to a seven-year low in 2018, according to official data.

Figures from the Oil & Gas Authority released this month revealed that total onshore oil production in 2018 dropped 3% to 947,453m3, down from 977,280m3 in 2017.

This continued a general downward trend for the past 20 years. Most onshore production was from one oil field. Onshore wells contributed less than 2% of total UK oil production in 2018.

onshore proudction 1989-2018

This suggests that onshore oil operators have a long way to go to meet claims that they can replace declining North Sea oil production or imports.

83% of oil from one site

onshore production 2018 by site

UK onshore oil production sites. Source: OGA

83% of all UK onshore oil in 2018 was produced by Perenco’s field at Wytch Farm in Dorset.

Its production was 786,601m3, down 2.8% on 2017 (809,258m3).

The site has seen a near-steady fall in production in the past 20 years. Production in 2018 was 86% down on the peak in 1996.

Wytch Farm oil production to 2018

33 other oil sites

The remaining 17% of UK onshore oil production in 2018 came from 33 sites.

The site with the second highest production was Welton, in Lincolnshire, operated by IGas. It produced 28,078m3 of oil, just under 3% of the annual onshore total.

The only other sites producing more than 10,000m3 were IGas sites at Singleton in West Sussex (23,786m3, 2.5%) and Stockbridge in Hampshire (18,270m3, 1.9%) and Petronas’s Humbly Grove in Hampshire (15,814m3, 1.7%).

The remaining 28 sites produced almost 8% of UK onshore oil – a total of 74,903m3.

The Kimmeridge field, in Dorset, operated by Perenco, saw a 1,000m3 fall in production in 2018, to 2,898m3. The site produced no oil in September 2018 and virtually none the month before. Values appeared to have recovered in November and December.

Kimmeridge oil production to 2018

Angus Energy’s site at Lidsey, in West Sussex, increased production from 134m3 in 2017 to 763m3 in 2018. But production at the site, where the company drilled a new sidetrack well, was still down on the four consecutive years from 2008-2011 where levels exceeded 1,000m3.

Lidsey oil production 1989-2018

The company’s other site at Brockham in Surrey resumed production in 2018, recording 209m3 after a pause in 2017. According to the OGA data, the site produced 60m3 in 2016 and 1165m3 in 2015.

Brockham oil production 1989-2019

Leading producing companies

Perenco produced about 84% of UK onshore oil from three sites: Wytch Farm (786,601m3), Wareham (3,829m3) and Kimmeridge (2,899m3).

onshore production 1999-2018 companies ex Perenco

IGas produced 13% on onshore oil from 22 sites. In order of size, these were:

  1. Welton (28,078m3)
  2. Singleton (23,786 m3)
  3. Stockbridge (18270 m3)
  4. Horndean (7,919m3)
  5. Bletchingley (6,242m3)
  6. Glentworth (5,222m3)
  7. Palmers Wood (5,138m3)
  8. Beckingham (4,990m3)
  9. Scampton North (4,976m3)
  10. Cold Hanworth (4,934m3)
  11. Gainsborough (4,093m3)
  12. Corringham (2,830m3)
  13. Storrington (2,490m3)
  14. East Glentworth (1564m3)
  15. Goodworth (1,461m3)
  16. Bothamsal (1,444m3)
  17. Long Clawson (933 m3)
  18. Rempstone (572m3)
  19. Beckingham West (421m3)
  20. Egmanton (284m3)
  21. Stainton (257m3)
  22. South Leverton (211m3)

Petronas produced 2% of total UK onshore oil production from one site at Humbly Grove (15,814m3).

The remaining five companies together produced just over 1% of the total from eight sites in 2018. These were:

  • Angus Energy
    • Lidsey (763m3)
    • Brockham (209m3)
  • Blackland Park
    • Whisby (4,872m3)
  • Egdon Resources
    • Keddington (1,270m3)
    • Fiskerton (1,121m3)
  • Europa Oil and Gas
    • West Firsby (1,991m3)
    • Crosby Warren (1,362m3)
  • Onshore Oilfield Services Limited
    • Farleys Wood (605m3)

No production from seven sites

According to the data, seven onshore sites which had produced oil in the past 20 years saw no production in 2018.

There were:

  • Albury, Surrey, IGas, last produced oil in 2017
  • Dukes Wood, Nottinghamshire, Egdon Resources, last produced oil in 2014 (483m3)
  • Herriard, Hampshire, Petronas Energy Trading, last produced oil in 2013 (453m3)
  • Nettleham, Lincolnshire, IGas, last produced oil in 2016 (17m3)
  • Newton on Trent, Lincolnshire, Blackland Park Exploration, last produced oil in 2016 (70m3)
  • Scampton, Lincolnshire, IGas, last produced oil in 2014 (151m3)
  • Waddock Cross, Dorset, Egdon Resources, last produced oil in 2014 (300m3)

The OGA data does not include wells, such as UKOG’s Horse Hill, where oil is produced during flow testing.

New wells

Brockham night working Brockham Protection Camp

Night working on the Brockham sidetrack, January 2017. Photo: Brockham Protection Camp

Another data set from the OGA shows that in the five years from 2014-2018, companies drilled a total of 24 onshore development or production wells across nine UK sites.

Of these, 20 wells were on oil production sites or fields:

  • Brockham, Surrey
  • Keddington
  • Stockbridge (5 wells)
  • Wareham
  • Whisby
  • Wytch Farm (11 wells)

The OGA production data does not show how much oil was produced from individual wells. But we know from site operators that the Brockham well drilled in 2017 does not yet have planning permission for production. The Keddington well was suspended after it failed to flow. One of the Stockbridge wells was for water injection and had to be abandoned because of greater than anticipated reservoir connectivity.

Another 17 exploration or appraisal oil and gas wells were drilled in 2014-2018. Of these, four wells targeting oil have been or are scheduled to be sealed and fully abandoned. Four other oil wells (Broadford Bridge-1 and 1z, Horse Hill-1, and Wressle-1) have not gone into formal production, though they may have produced oil during flow tests. Only one oil well, at Lidsey, has gone into production, based on statements from the site operator, Angus Energy.

Offshore production

According to the OGA data, offshore oil production in 2018 was 56,588,221m3, up 3.4% on the previous year and the highest level since 2011.

12 replies »

  1. Sorry but its understandable that there is a decline, there is a 10 year low in investment for offshore. This will has an effect in onshore exploration investment! Its a misleading article as discovered oil and gas acreage onshore has huge potential as the BGS has always stated. This has yet to be achieved.
    Wytch Farm is onshore, As Brent and Forties is offshore. But alas there are plenty of small marginally fields offshore which require huge investment to materialise, remember there are potentially 24billion barrels yet to be produced. And that is the beginning before the onshore industry can be exploited to its full potential! I just requires trust and investment! In the UK over 83% of houses and businesses use Gas to heat and cook with…

    • ‘And that is the beginning before the onshore industry can be exploited to its full potential!’……..which is looking highly unlikely.

      That’s a ‘did not’ in the last sentence by the way.

      Pleas by both Cuadrilla and Ineos, the energy and petrochemicals company that hopes to frack for shale in England, have been rebuffed by the government and the regulator, although the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) said in February it was carrying out a “scientific analysis” of the data gathered from Cuadrilla’s recent work.

      This analysis did not, however, constitute a review of the traffic light system, the regulator stressed.

  2. Having just watched a programme on climate change it is abundantly clear that we should not be investing in gas and oil and we certainly should not be extracting even more fossil fuels. Scientist after scientist stated that we have to act now and invest in the technology to be able to now, as the cost is tiny compared to the cost and devastation if we don’t!

  3. Well, KatT, you can invest away in alternatives. Plenty of options available for you to do so. But, many of us do that already, and still use gas and oil, and products from both-as you do. Many of us are not too happy to invest away for those who don’t want to take the responsibility themselves-I bought my last litre of diesel for my stint on earth last week. (Few who post on here as antis not interested.) My passport has expired as I have no need or intention to fly. (Few who post on here as antis not interested.) But some of us quite like that when a natural disaster occurs fossil fuel can be used to help those hit and reduce the levels of mortality that used to result. You know the sort-when all the electricity system is demolished.

    But interesting stats. in this article. Basically shows that Wytch Farm was Europes largest on shore oil field and is now declining-over 100k BOE/day now down to around 15k. So, means UK now importing from US (fracking!) at 372k/day. Maybe a bit of UK development of new sites would reduce some of that 372k/day and the emissions that result from the transport of it? (Add that to Ms Thompson reducing her air miles to attend a demo and both would be small but very easy steps to take.)

    Record numbers on the move this Easter in UK. Which helps to explain the US imports, and why Fawley Refinery, where Wytch Farm oil goes to (mainly) has a £500million programme to expand diesel production!

      • Yes record numbers, flying abroad, firing up gas bbq’s, filling up the cool box and chilling with fossil fuel power! Ironic these youngsters have been educated that fossil fuels are bad?! But without FF the evolution of renewables would never have been conceived, Elon is feeding america with the ‘i can build the biggest battery in the would to power the USA’! But at what cost?,
        China has built the world biggest solar grid, but with an 8year pay back?! Renewables are hugely subsidised and where is the potential pay back which will fund these extinction rebellion students, when they claim benefits after receiving a criminal record for obstruction and abuse? Because i guarantee it never went through their minds a criminal record could be achieved by causing £10million of damage to the capital and Shell’s HQ etc…

  4. Yes, Passepartout. Good job Emma was not inconvenienced.

    At least one good thing should come out of it. The guy who disposed of the water cannon should have that added to his CV, to add to delays to Crossrail and failure to deal with the knife crime problem! Then we can follow the US lead on how to deal with natural, and man made problems, and introduce and then deploy a National Guard.

  5. Others do not have to “think” and still find it does! Some early nights might help.

    (Two posts around 11pm, stating? Nothing.)

    But, if you are now a little more awake. How did the blockade of Heathrow go? LOL.

    • ‘Others do not have to “think” and still find it does!’ – a name,please? Phileas or Passepartout perhaps?

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