By John Underhill and Patrick Corbett in The Conversation.
A large oil find has been declared 60 miles west of Shetland, off the north coast of Scotland. It’s being described as the UK’s “largest undeveloped discovery”. Taken at face value, this is exciting news for an industry still reeling after the oil price collapse of the past few years (environmentalists though are less enthusiastic).
The discovery was made by Hurricane Energy, a specialist exploration firm, which announced that its Halifax well had found large amounts of oil. It said it had also successfully undertaken a production test in which oil flowed at an impressive rate. This find may even be connected with a previous discovery nearby (the Lancaster field) and hence be part of one large accumulation of nearly a billion untapped barrels.
Hurricane Energy specialises in trying to extract oil from so-called fractured “basement” reservoirs. While most oil, including most North Sea oil, is found within sedimentary rocks such as sandstone, these basements occur when oil gathers in the natural cracks (or fractures) between impermeable igneous rock. In this specific case, Hurricane was actively searching along the Rona Ridge – a prominent seabed feature which hosts several oil fields.
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