PESGB February 2003
Our need to meet publishing deadlines means that this is the first opportunity I have had to comment on the success of PETEX 2002. As many of you will be aware PETEX plays an important part in the life of the UK E&P industry, bringing together new ideas in a forum where business can be conducted and equally importantly knowledge shared through relevant technical presentations. The PETEX committee are to be congratulated on yet another successful conference. Some of you may not be aware that the PETEX conference also plays an important part in the financial health of your society, often contributing several £ I 00,000 to our coffers every other year. Following a detailed evaluation of the Society’s ongoing finances and obligations expertly led by Doug
Fenwick, we look forward to a more stable financial future. As a charity we cannot subsidise events such as the Presidents Evening, but we would welcome input from YOU on how we can best make use of the Society’s financial surplus. (i.e. those funds which are in excess of those monies which we must continue to hold and invest as part of our legal obligation as a registered charity). Please e-mail or speak to any member of council with your ideas and suggestions.
I would also like to welcome new members of council who were successful in being elected. They are Steve Boldy (President Elect), Bryan Moseley (Secretary), Mike Cooper (Aberdeen Director) and Giancarlo Rizzi (Director Elect Aberdeen). I apologise to each of them in advance for the “coffee” at the monthly council meetings!
As some of you may know I have a strong (some say unhealthy) interest in promoting continued exploration in the UK. It is clear to many that the time has now come for us to share more
information and data (wells and seismic) from the UKCS. When the UKCS was still relatively unexplored in the 70’s and 80’s it was clear that significant commercial advantage could be gained through keeping information and concepts tight. However the UK is undergoing a transition, exploration is currently running at unacceptably low levels and if you are to believe some, there is no more (significant) oil to be found, and that we must concentrate on producing more of that which we have found through brownfield initiatives and more efficient operating practices. Laudable as these aims are, it will not find any new hydrocarbon pools, or “new sources of tax revenue” as the Treasury might like to call them.
As a member of the UKOOA Executive, I can also see this increasing polarization of the industry. So how do we increase exploration activity in the UK? I do not believe that there is a magic
bullet. It will require a sea change in some of those practices we have all held in the past as an integral part of the way we do business:
• Willingness to release data.
• Making access to CDA data more open.
• Greater sharing of knowledge and lessons learned.
• A simple way to acquire released seismic data, that also allows Operators to get on with business. All too often this process is a function of the company involved and whether or not you have a contact there.
• Fiscal stimulation for successful exploration, not just drilling holes in the ground. (New discoveries could be exempt from SCT)
• Regul ated access to in frastructure.
• A greater degree of pragmatism, commercial deals should be win-win, rather than a points scoring competition between lawyers.
• Explore your licence or re lease it so that others can.
The DTI/PILOT initiatives are slowly reaching consensus on a number of these issues, however progress is only modest, as understandably the devil is always in the detail. There is talk of a National Data Archive, perhaps initially supported by Operators and run by the BGS. The sooner we can make UKCS data available to a wider community at cost of reproduction or close to that, the sooner we will see new ideas generated, and also a greater ability for companies to put their exploration and production acreage in a regional perspective.
I would like the PESGB to play a part in these initiatives for its members and look forward to exploring ways in which the Society can help our members in these times of increasing change.