Annual UK onshore oil production has fallen to its lowest level since 2011.
Official figures from the Oil & Gas Authority show that production in 2020 fell to 869,885m3, down nearly 6% on the year before.
The data reveals:
- 2020 was the sixth consecutive year of falling volumes onshore
- Onshore share of total UK oil production is down on most of the past five years
- Most UK onshore oil production again came from a single field
For the first time, the annual data included Horse Hill in Surrey, which began producing in March 2020. The site was ranked seventh, with 0.74% of the UK onshore total oil production.
Covid-19 outbreak probably affected some production volumes because some sites suspended operations.
2020 was the fourth consecutive year when total annual onshore oil production was below 100,000m3.
Overall, onshore oil production in 2020 was 5.8% down on the 2019 figure of 923,315m3. This was the largest annual fall since 2016-2017.
The annual change in 2020 hides a wide variation between sites. Production at Angus Energy’s Lidsey site in West Sussex, was down 88% on 2019. The company announced in May 2020 that it was suspending production in response to the low oil price. In contrast, the IGas site at Long Clawson, in Leicestershire, was up more than 125%.
The UK’s largest onshore producer, Wytch Farm, in Dorset, was down 3.56%. Production at the second ranking site, Singleton, in West Sussex, was down more than 9%.
The onshore contribution to total UK oil production rose slightly to 1.58%, compared with 1.56% in 2019. But it remained below the share of 1.65% in 2018, 1.99% in 2016 and 2.12% in 2015.
84% from one field
As in previous years, more than 80% of production was from Wytch Farm.
In 2020, this field produced 733,422m3, 84.31% of the UK onshore total.
Wytch Farm saw its sixth consecutive fall in production . 2020 was the lowest volume since 2011.
The next nine highest ranking producers accounted for 95,496m3 or 11% of the onshore total. These fields were either in the Weald in southern England or in Lincolnshire.
Ranked by volume, they were: Singleton; Welton, Lincolnshire; Humbly Grove, Stockbridge, Horndean, all in Hampshire; Horse Hill, Surrey; Glentworth, Lincolnshire; Scampton North, Lincolnshire; and Wareham, Dorset.
The remaining 21 UK onshore oil producing sites produced 40965m3 or 4.7% of the onshore total.
Inevitably, most of the 2020 production came from Perenco, the company which operates Wytch Farm.
Perenco’s total, which also includes the Kimmeridge and Wareham fields, was 741,705m3 in 2020, more than 85% of onshore production.
The next largest producer was IGas, with 99168m3, or more than 11%. The company produced from 22 fields in 2020. Last year, it announced the suspension of a number of sites in May and June 2020. Affected staff were furloughed under the government scheme.
In descending order of volume, the other oil producers were: EP UK Investments, which operates Humbly Grove; UK Oil & Gas plc (Horse Hill); Blackland Park Exploration (Whisby); Europa Oil and Gas (Crosby Warren and West Firsby); Egdon Resources (Fiskerton Airfield and Keddington); Onshore Oilfield Services Limited (Farleys Wood); and Angus Energy (Lidsey).