Offshore drilling activity in UK waters has risen 64% during the second quarter of 2012, according to new figures released on Tuesday.
The Deloitte report, which documents drilling and licensing across north-west Europe between April 1 and June 30, shows 18 exploration and appraisal wells were drilled on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).
Graham Sadler, managing director of Deloitte’s Petroleum Services Group, said the figures suggest that the outlook for the UK oil and gas industry is positive.
He said: “We traditionally experience a rise in activity during the summer months, however this year’s spur of activity reflects a higher year-on-year increase.
“We have some way to go before we are back to the levels seen in 2009 and 2010, however the positive announcements in the Government’s March Budget with regards to the extension and change in field tax allowances should encourage further exploration, appraisal and development activity.
"Furthermore, the announcements made to provide more certainty on the decommissioning tax relief, if implemented, should allow companies to recover cash flow previously tied up in financial guarantees for further investment across the UKCS.”
The report also indicates a mix of companies in the North Sea making use of the Government’s March Budget announcement, with a number of deals focused on new and existing discoveries, as well as deals involving fields under development or fields that are already producing.
The number of field start-ups occurring in the first half of 2012 also shows positive signs for the industry. So far in 2012, across the North Sea, eight new fields have come on-stream. This is higher than the total number of field start-ups seen during 2011 and more than double those seen in 2009 and 2010.