Annual UK onshore oil production has fallen again, continuing a downward trend in 2021 that began in the 1990s.
Official figures from the industry regulator shows that onshore oil production was down nearly 5% on 2020.
The data reveals, reveals:
- 2021 total onshore oil was 828,624m3
- This was the seventh consecutive year of falling oil volumes onshore
- The onshore share of total UK oil production remained below 2% – as it has for six of the past 10 years
Covid-19 may have continued to affect some production volumes in 2021. But the lockdown began a phased exit in March 2021. And operators might have been expected to respond to rising prices. The UK benchmark price for Brent crude increased from $54.77 a barrel in January 2021 to $83.54 in October 2021.
2021 was the fifth consecutive year when total annual onshore oil production was below 100,000m3.
Overall onshore oil production was 4.7% below the 2020 figure of 869,883m3. (2019-2020 saw the largest annual percentage fall since 2016-1017.)
As in previous years, the overall figures hide variations.
- The UK’s biggest onshore oilfield at Wytch Farm in Dorset fell 5%, below 700,000m3 for the first time since 2011.
- The second biggest producer, Welton in Lincolnshire, rose 16% on 2020, after a 28% fall the year before.
- Goodworth, in Hampshire, rose more than 70% from 968m3 in 2020 to 1,656m3 in 2021
- Also in Hampshire, Humbly Grove dropped 50% from 13,486m3 in 2020 to 7,272m3 in 2021
- Horse Hill in Surrey fell 20% from 6474m3 in its first year of production in 2020 to 4,861m3 in 2021.
The onshore contribution to total UK oil production rose to 1.80%, compared with 1.58% in 2020 and 1.56% in 2019. But it remained below the share seen in the five years from 2012-17.
Most from one field
As in previous years, most UK onshore production was from Wytch Farm. In 2021, this field produced 697,989m3, 84.23% of the UK onshore total. Wytch Farm saw its seventh consecutive fall in production. 2021 was the lowest volume since 2011.
The next nine highest ranking producers accounted for 95,449m3 – below 11% of the onshore total. As in previous years, these fields were either in the Weald in southern England or in Lincolnshire.
Ranked by volume, they were: Welton, Lincolnshire; Singleton, West Sussex; Stockbridge, Horndean and Humbly Grove, all in Hampshire; Glentworth, Scampton North and Whisby, Lincolnshire; and Horse Hill in Surrey.
The remaining 23 UK onshore oil producing sites produced 39,722m3 or 4.8% of the annual onshore total.
Not surprisingly, the Wytch Farm operator, Perenco, was the biggest individual producer, with 85.1% of UK onshore production in 2021, totalling 704,751m3. As well as Wytch Farm, the company operates the Kimmeridge and Wareham, also in Dorset.
The next highest ranked operator, IGas, produced 102,311m3, or 12.3%. This was up on 2020 (99,168m3), when sites were suspended because of covid-19.
The remaining six companies produced 21,562 or 2.6% of the UK onshore total in 2021. They were ranked: EP UK Investments (Humbly Grove), Britnrg Limited (Whisby), UKOG (Horse Hill), Europa Oil & Gas (Crosby Warren and West Firsby), Egdon Resources (Fiskerton Airfield and Keddington) and Onshore Oilfield Services Limited (Farleys Wood).
Angus Energy, a producer in 2020, extracted no oil in 2021, according to the figures.
The Egdon Resources site at Wressle was not counted in the production data because it is continued to undergo testing.
December 2021 data
This post also includes data in our monthly series reviewing the latest onshore oil production.
Daily production: 14,345 barrels per day (bopd)
Weight: 58,246 tonnes
Volume: 70,699 m3
Volume of onshore as a proportion of UK total oil production: 1.83%
Headline of the month: rises in daily production, weight, volume and contribution to total UK oil production.
The data in this post was compiled by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) from reports by oil companies. It is published three months in arrears. All the charts are based on the NTSA data.
Humbly Grove in Hampshire reclaimed its place in the top five in December 2021, after calling 74% in November 2021. Horse Hill continued its fall in the rankings, down to 13th place, despite a production increase of nearly 6%.
Wytch Farm and Welton saw monthly increases in production but tonnage at Singleton (third placed) and Stockbridge (fourth) was down.
There were also reductions at Whisby, Beckingham, Scampton North, Cold Hanworth, Gainsborough and Storrington. December 2021 saw increases at Glentworth, Kimmeridge, Wareham and Corringham.
Perenco, the largest onshore producer and operator of Wytch Farm, saw its weight of oil rise more than 2,500 tonnes.
Production from IGas fields was down more than 500 tonnes and its share fell more than 1.5%. EP UK Investments, which operators Humbly Grove, rose back up the rankings, increasing its weight and contribution to UK onshore totals, compared with November 2021.
Egdon Resources’ oil production fell by 50 tonnes. All eyes are on the first formal production results from Wressle.
There was no production from 13 onshore oil sites:
- IGas fields at Avington, Egmanton, Nettleham, Palmers Wood, Scampton, South Leverton and Stainton
- Egdon Resources fields at Dukes Wood, Kirklington and Waddock Cross
- Angus Energy sites at Lidsey and Brockham
- Britnrg site at Newton-on-Trent