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BP announces start of drilling on new carboniferous prospect in southern North Sea

Release date:
5 December 2016

BP today announced that drilling has commenced on a potential carboniferous gas play in southern North Sea block 43/26a that, if successful, could open up a new phase of development in the region.


The well, being drilled with partners Perenco and Premier, will test the potential of a deep carboniferous age horizon several hundred metres beneath the mature reservoirs produced by the Ravenspurn ST2 platform.


Mark Thomas, BP North Sea regional president, commented: “This play warrants further exploration as we know the reservoir sands exist. What we don’t know is whether, if gas is found, long-term production can be proven economic from this deeply buried reservoir horizon. We’re looking forward to working with Perenco and Premier to test this concept and better understand its potential.”


During the drilling and testing phase, Perenco - as operator of the existing producing Ravenspurn field - will act as substitute operator on behalf of BP and the other licence owners.


BP holds an 85% equity stake in the prospect alongside licence partners Perenco (10%) and Premier (5%).

Further information



BP North Sea press office, +44 (0)1224 832 030

BP press office, London, +44 (0)20 7496 4076, bppress@bp.com

Notes to editors


  • The North Sea is an important region for BP where it expects to sustain a significant business for the long term. 
  • BP North Sea expects to grow production for UK assets to around 200,000 barrels per day by 2020, with an exciting set of future investment and renewal options capable of sustaining a material business into the 2030s. 
  • Along with its co-venturers, BP has invested at record levels in the UK North Sea. In 2016, BP is expected to spend around $2bn in capital investment and $1.6bn running its operations.
  • BP is expecting important new oil production from its major projects Quad204 and Clair Ridge in early 2017 and 2018 respectively.
  • Over the next 18 months, BP plans to participate in up to five exploration wells in addition to potentially drilling about 50 developments wells in the North Sea over the next 3-4 years.
  • BP is also investing significantly in the reliability and integrity of existing assets through an extensive renewal programme.

Cautionary statement


In order to utilize the ‘safe harbor’ provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the ‘PSLRA’), BP is providing the following cautionary statement. This press release contains certain forward-looking statements concerning BP’s drilling, along with partners Perenco and Premier, of a potential Carboniferous gas play in southern North Sea, including operation thereof, and the potential to uncover a deep Carboniferous age horizon beneath the mature reservoirs produced by the Ravenspurn ST2 platform; plans and expectations regarding BP’s strategy and investment in the North Sea, ongoing and future projects in the North Sea and expected production levels and timing thereof; and plans and expectations with regard to oil production from other major projects and investment in existing assets. Actual results may differ from those expressed in such statements, depending on a variety of factors including changes in public expectations and other changes to business conditions; the timing, quantum and nature of divestments; the receipt of relevant third-party and/or regulatory approvals; future levels of industry product supply; demand and pricing; OPEC quota restrictions; PSA effects; operational problems; regulatory or legal actions; economic and financial conditions generally or in various countries and regions; political stability and economic growth in relevant areas of the world; changes in laws and governmental regulations; exchange rate fluctuations; development and use of new technology; the success or otherwise of partnering; the actions of competitors, trading partners and others; natural disasters and adverse weather conditions; changes in public expectations and other changes to business conditions; wars and acts of terrorism, cyber-attacks or sabotage; and other factors discussed under “Principal risks and uncertainties” in our Stock Exchange Announcement for the period ended 30 June 2016 and under "Risk factors" in our Annual Report and Form 20-F 2015.


This press release contains references to non-proved resources and production outlooks based on non-proved resources that the SEC's rules prohibit us from including in our filings with the SEC. U.S. investors are urged to consider closely the disclosures in our Form 20-F, SEC File No. 1-06262. This form is available on our website at www.bp.com. You can also obtain this form from the SEC by calling 1-800-SEC-0330 or by logging on to their website at www.sec.gov.