UK onshore oil production fell in 2019 to its lowest point for eight years, official data has revealed.
The Oil & Gas Authority has released figures which showed that total onshore oil production last year dropped to 923,315m3. The last time onshore oil production was lower was in 2011.
It was the fifth successive year of declining production and continued a general trend of falling output that began in 1999.
The onshore contribution to total UK oil production has also continued a fall that began in 2014.
As in previous years, most UK onshore production came from one oil field.
The figures do not include data from exploration and appraisal sites, such as Horse Hill in Surrey, which did not have production licences in 2019.
The 2019 onshore oil production total was 2.5% down on the 2018 figure of 947,453m3.
The year-on-year percentage fall was, however, the lowest for the past five years.
Onshore oil’s contribution to the UK total has also fallen steadily since 2014.
In 2019, it was 1.56% of the total, down from 1.84% in 2018 and 1.99% in 2017.
82% from one field
As in previous years, most onshore production (82.36%) was from Wytch Farm in Dorset.
It produced 760,458m3 in 2019, down 3% on 2018 (786601m3). Its share of the UK total in 2019 was also slightly down compared with the previous year (83%).
This field has seen gradually declining production since 2013 but its contribution to total onshore production has not fallen below 77% in the past 10 years.
32 other sites
The remaining 18% of UK onshore oil production was from 32 other sites across England. Together, they produced 162,856m3.
Of these sites, the highest producer was IGas’s Welton field, in Lincolnshire.
It produced 29,473m3 in 2019, just over 3% of the total UK onshore production.
2019 production was up 5% on 2018 (28,087m3).
IGas has carried out the first phase of a waterflood project at Welton, where a suspended well was used as a water injector to increase production.
Welton has been the second largest onshore oil producer in the UK for each of the past 10 years.
Number 3 in the onshore oil rankings was Singleton, in West Sussex, also operated by IGas. It produced 23,350m3, 2.5% of the UK onshore oil total. The 2019 volume was down 1.8% on 2018.
All the remaining sites each produced under 20,000m3 in 2019, totalling 110,033m3 or 12% of UK onshore oil production.
Rises and falls
Humbly Grove, operated by EP UK Investments, in Hampshire, saw its highest annual production since 2014, at 18,407m3. This was up 16% on 2018. The site was ranked number 4 on production, overtaking IGas’s Stockbridge field, also in Hampshire, for the first time since 2014.
There were large percentage increases at Perenco’s Wareham (55.32%) and Kimmeridge (35.2%) sites in Dorset, and at IGas sites at Rempstone (34.4%), Beckingham (32.6%) and Stainton (31.5%).
Production was also up at seven other sites (listed by largest increase first): Long Clawson, Scampton North, Crosby Warren, Bothamsall, Storrington; Glentworth and Goodworth.
A trend of stop-start production continued at Angus Energy’s Brockham site in Surrey. It recorded no oil production in 2019, following 209m3 in 2018, 0m3 in 2017 and 60m3 in 2016.
No production was also recorded at eight other sites: Avington, Dukes Wood, Herriard, Kirklington, Nettleham, Newton-on-Trent, Scampton and Waddock Cross.
IGas’s site at Egmanton in Nottinghamshire saw production fall from 284m3 in 2018 to 38m3 in 2019 (down 86.6%). There were also large percentage falls at Palmers Wood (30.2%) and Whisby (26.3%).
Another 16 sites saw production falls (listed by largest falls first): Fiskerton Airfield, Beckingham West, Lidsey, Stockbridge, Bletchingley, Farleys Wood, South Leverton, West Firstby, Cold Hanworth, Gainsborough, Wytch Farm, Horndean, Singleton, Corringham, East Glentworth and Keddington.
Not surprisingly, most of the production came from one company, Perenco Oil & Gas, the operator of the Wytch Farm. The company’s total, including production from its Kimmeridge and Wareham fields, was 770,325m3 in 2019, 83% of the UK onshore oil.
IGas produced from 22 sites in 2019, with a total volume of 124,344m3. The total was down slightly but the company’s share of the UK onshore total remained stable on last year at 13%.
The company ranked number 3, EP UK Investments, had 2% of UK onshore production from one site, Humbly Grove.
The remaining companies, with a total of 10,238m3, were: Europa Oil & Gas at Crosby Warren and West Firsby (0.4%); Blackland Park Exploration at Whisby (0.39%); Egdon Resources at Fiskerton Airfield, and Keddington (0.23%); Angus Energy at Lidsey (0.07%); Onshore Oilfield Services Limited at Farleys Wood (0.06%).
UK offshore production in 2019 was at the highest level since 2011.
The total for last year was 59,081,069m3, up 2.7% on 2018.
Updated 18/2/2021 to correct misplaced comma in total offshore production figure