Date lodged: 7 September 2016
To ask the Scottish Government whether it was consulted on the reported plan by the Oil and Gas Authority to use £2.5 million of money received from the Treasury to fund new analysis of seismic data harvested 25 years ago, and what its position is on reports that this is for the purpose of increasing the search for oil and gas in the Minch and Firth of Clyde.
Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 28 September 2016
Exploration drilling has fallen substantially over the past few years with only nine exploration and appraisal wells drilled so far in 2016 compared to a total of 26 in 2015. The Scottish Government takes the view that it is crucial that the Oil and Gas Authority concentrates on actions to help encourage and attract investment in exploration opportunities across the UKCS. Investment in seismic data such as this, will help to maintain the rate of potential field developments – and to enable employment to be sustained over the longer term. As the Oil and Gas Authority have already highlighted, areas such as the Minch and Firth of Clyde have not benefitted from the latest industry acquisition and processing techniques. These basins may offer an extra pathway to extending the life of the UKCS, however, consideration of balancing socio economic, health and safety and the increasingly highly sensitive environmental issues to support the on-going future of the oil and gas industry across Scottish waters is of utmost interest to Scottish Government.