The Danish parliament made two far-reaching decisions late last week. Firstly, to abandon the planned round of tenders for oil exploration, and secondly to stop all production from the Danish sector of the North Sea by 2050. The announcement included plans for a local initiative to support longer term development and employment in Esbjerg and the surrounding area, which is heavily dependent on the oil industry.
Minister of Climate, Energy and Supply Dan Jørgensen said “I am very pleased that we now have a broad agreement on the future of the North Sea, and I would like to thank the parties for their constructive approach to the negotiations. The agreement sets a new, green course for the North Sea, and at the same time strikes a really good balance, and it benefits everyone. We are now putting an end to the fossil era, and drawing a straight line between our activities in the North Sea and the Climate Act’s goal of climate neutrality in 2050. The cancellation of both the 8th tender round and all future tender rounds also means that the state is over actively goes out and invites fossil exploration. At the same time, we are nailing down the remaining rules for the current production “.
Data from helicopter market intelligence experts Parapex Media shows that there are 55 drilling platforms in the Danish sector of the North Sea. These are located across 20 oil and gas fields, with 15 of these fields operated by Total, 3 fields with Ineos and one each for Hess and Wintershall. Dana Petroleum also has interests in a 21st field, but its future status is unknown given last week’s announcement and the company’s joint statement with Maersk Drilling last month that they had agreed to defer their previously announced one-well contract, which they had expected to commence in May 2020 but postponed by the pandemic’s impact on the industry. The layout of these fields is shown in the map below, issued by the Danish Energy Agency.
Denmark currently produces an average of 83,000 barrels of crude oil and 21,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, with these figure expected to rise by 30-35% over the next five years as renovation of major platforms is finished. By setting an end-date, it is expected that production will gradually wind down as planned future investment is cancelled and replaced by closure preparations. Denmark can rightly claim to be the biggest producer in the EU, as that country grouping does not include Norway and the UK, which are both much larger producers. Around 135 million cubic meters of oil and 77 billion cubic meters of natural gas are left in the Danish North Sea fields, the country’s Energy Agency estimated in September.
From a helicopter industry point of view, Babcock are about to take over the Total contract from NHV and are preparing three Airbus H175s in the UK to move to the Danish register and operate from Esbjerg. One of these is a brand new aircraft delivered from the factory in Marignane to the UK on 21st November for this contract. This will be the first time that Babcock have operated from Denmark, and marks the start of a five year agreement.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
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