It has been revealed that the UK Government will be funding seabed surveys in the Minch and Firth of Clyde as the search for oil and gas in the area intensifies.
The data for the region with the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) is nearly 25 years old. However, with advanced techniques to analyse data now available, the OGA will be paying oil and gas contractors £2.5 million from the Treasury to analyse the old seismic data.
Experts will be able to analyse the available data and get a better understanding of the subsea fields as well as inland waters towards the western coast of Scotland. In addition, new surveys will be conducted around southwest England, Morecambe Bay and the Bristol Channel.
In the last two years, the OGA has given oil and gas contractors and other experts close to £40 million in government grants to perform seismic surveys and analyse the resultant data. This was done to encourage further drilling for oil and gas since the plunging world oil price brought the exploration of new oil fields in the UK to a near halt.
The OGA stated that if the new analysis of seismic data for the Minch and Firth of Clyde warrants further drilling, the Scottish Government would have the mandate to take decisions.
OGA Exploration and New Ventures Manager Nick Richardson stated that the new data for the region would be in 2D format and will cover the under-explored regions of the UK Continental Shelf. The data would be provided to oil and gas companies at a reasonable fee.
Richardson went on to add that the data would provide information on potential exploration regions that have not been looked at in the last few decades and hence have not been subjected to the latest processing techniques.