North Sea

BP has been present in the North Sea for many decades and we intend this to continue for many decades to come

What we do

Within the North Sea Region our activity set spans the entire industry life-cycle, from access and exploration, through resource appraise, drilling, commissioning, production and decommissioning. To date, we have invested more than £35 billion in the North Sea and produced over five billion barrels of oil and gas. Along with our partners, we are investing a further £10 billion in the North Sea. 

Aberdeen, the energy capital of Europe, is the headquarters for BP’s North Sea upstream business, covering offshore operations, terminals and pipelines in the UK and Norway. We are a major employer in the North Sea Region and are proud of the work our people do to constantly push new frontiers.

BP has been a leading operator in Aberdeen since the mid 1960’s, when North Sea oil and gas exploration and production began. In 1970, we discovered the giant Forties oilfield, confirming the North Sea as a globally significant oil and gas province. Since then, BP has continued to be a major player, finding, developing and operating numerous oil and gas fields and pipeline systems to bring the hydrocarbons ashore.

Our North Sea strategy

Focusing on delivering our strategy and pursuing value over volume, we are working with our partners to build a safe, competitive and robust future business.

Focusing on delivering our strategy and pursuing value over volume, we are working with our partners to build a safe, competitive and robust future business. 

Our North Sea strategy is underpinned by a relentless focus on safety and risk  management, and on the active management of our portfolio to ensure that we  remain competitive in the current price environment and prioritise value over volume.

We are proud of the high-value portfolio we have today, but we are clear that our licence to operate it only exists by prioritising safety every day. This rigorous  management of risk helps to not only protect our people and the environments in  which we operate, but also the enduring value we create.

Operating in technically demanding geographies, we are sensitive to local environments and work hard to avoid, minimise and mitigate environmental impacts.

Maximising recovery

Maximising the performance of our existing asset base is a core strategic priority.

Our strengths in managing giant fields and high-value assets are central to realising the significant opportunities that remain in the North Sea. 

This involves investing in our infrastructure to ensure safe and reliable production over the long term, and managing our reservoirs to maximise recovery. Our portfolio includes infrastructure installed in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, which we need to maintain and upgrade so that it continues to produce for longer. Our renewal programme, which will enable long-term maintenance work to be carried out in parallel with drilling and other activities, will help us to maximise production and increase oil and gas recovery.

While the first element of our ‘maximising the base’ strategy is to ensure that we produce more reliably, the second is to ensure that, ultimately, we produce more from our reservoirs. One of the main ways we can do this is via enhanced oil recovery  techniques. Another way is more sophisticated use of seismic imaging, which helps us to obtain better definition of our reservoirs and, therefore, enables better targeting of our wells.

Investing for the future

Developing long-term opportunities is a vital part of realising the North Sea’s potential.

Developing opportunities beyond the existing base is vital for the continued energy supply of the UK and Norway. With an ongoing commitment to major projects,  targeted exploration and appraisal programmes, and new licenses around our core hubs, we are continuing to invest at significant levels in our North Sea business to maximise production and access new reserves.

In addition to new field developments and redevelopments, we are conducting major renewal programmes on existing assets and have an exciting hopper of future  investment opportunities which we are working hard to make competitive. The people we employ, the technology we use, and the communities in which we serve are central to our continued success in the Region.


Technology underpins everything we do, from operating safely to discovering and recovering more resources. BP is applying new and existing technologies across all its North Sea operating assets and continuing to progress the implementation of some pioneering techniques.

Technology has allowed us to safely access reservoirs that were out of reach 30 years ago and recover more from existing fields. It means safer, more reliable and more efficient operations, now and in the future. Over recent years, our seismic team has been at the forefront of using new seismic acquisition techniques, such as ocean-bottom cabling (OBC) and wide azimuth towed streamers (WATS). These continue to enhance BP’s ability to image and identify new opportunities within existing reservoirs and open up the possibilities to find new fields. We are also leading the way in the latest enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques to significantly extend the field life of our assets, including the first offshore EOR scheme using reduced salinity water injection (LoSal®).

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