Blog & News


Thu 25 January 2018

Category: Conference, Events, Exhibition, Prospex, Reviews

A sense of anticipation and excitement

By Andy Alexander, Siccar Point Energy

You have to hand it to the organisers of PROSPEX who have delivered yet another great event showcasing UK and international exploration opportunities. If PROSPEX 2016 felt like the green shoots of recovery, this event was brimming with enthusiasm for the promise of increased activity. And numbers were up too with 832 attendees, 74 exhibitors and 6 pavilion poster presenters. PROSPEX is always a great place to feel the pulse of the exploration industry and catch up with partners, potential partners, colleagues and contractors.

Now in its 15th year, after starting life in 2003 as “Licence to Sell”, the conference has become a key date in the industry calendar, jointly hosted and organised by the PESGB and the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA). The venue, as usual, was London’s Business Design Centre. The fair was very ably organised by Neil Frewin (PROSPEX Chair and President Elect, PESGB), Nick Terrell (President, PESGB) and the dedicated committee made up of PESGB and OGA.

The key themes from the first session of Day 1 delivered by Nick Richardson (parachuting in for Gunther Newcombe) of the OGA were around the large number of 30th round applications (96 applications received for 239 blocks by 68 companies), the range of companies active in the UKCS, the improving economics of the basin and the improved finding metrics. Various released datasets were described and a proposed machine learning pilot introduced. Nick also gave us some interesting E&A wells to look out for in 2018.
Westwood Global Energy’s President of Research, Keith Myers, Wood Mackenzie’s Kevin Swann and Rystad Energy’s Simon Sjøthun each gave valuable insights into the past, present and future of the UKCS and NW European E&P business during Day 1. The overriding conclusion from these presentations was that there was indeed “life in the old dog yet” and, in terms of value, the UK still has something to offer on the global stage. Another key theme that cannot be overstated is the future impact of declining infrastructure – a concern also shared by Mike Cooper of 1st Subsurface Oilfield Management.
Nick Terrell (on behalf of Henry Morris, Azinor Catalyst) gave a keynote speech on the use of technology and big data to unlock new exploration potential. Iain Bartholomew of Siccar Point Energy shared his obvious enthusiasm for the Corona Ridge area of the Faroes Shetland Basin and highlighted new research and new thinking around the intra-volcanic plays in the area.

The remainder of day one was dominated by the popular UK “Prospects to Go” theme providing us with a diverse range of exploration opportunities including Eocene injectites in the Viking Graben, Upper Jurassic stratigraphic traps in the West Central Graben and Inner Moray Firth and potential Palaeozoic-Mesozoic reservoirs within a giant closure in the Devil’s Hole. Hopefully this session helped to drum up some follow-on conversations at the booths and maybe even some investment opportunities.

Day 1 finished with a much-needed UK onshore opportunities session where a new Special Interest Group was introduced. Egdon Resources, London Local Energy and Swift Exploration presented opportunities from the north of England, the south of England and even from close to Ikea at Willesden in London! Some of the challenges of environmental monitoring were well described by Simon Talbot from GGS.

I think everyone enjoyed the evening drinks reception (wish I could have stayed longer!) which allowed for a good deal of more relaxed interaction – you can always tell a good evening reception by the noise levels and laughter. Thanks to many of the exhibitors for also supplying their own drinks selections.

Day 2 had a more international focus with presentations from The Netherlands (EBN’s Exploration Manager, Eric van Ewijk), The Faroes (Niels Christian Nolsoe, Director of the Faroese Geological Survey), Ireland (Katie Hernon, Petroleum Affairs Division), Denmark (Nina Skaarup, GEUS), Italy (Angelo Ricciato, GE Plan) and Malta (Dr. Albert Caruana, Continental Shelf Department). Specific farm-in opportunities were presented from Ireland’s Atlantic Margin by Woodside, Providence Resources and Petrel Resources, from onshore Greenland by Greenland Gas & Oil and from Eastern Canada by Corridor Resources. Combined with the technical presentations from Seismic Image Processing, Ikon Science and Offshore Resource Group, this made for a full and varied second day.

Congratulations to the PESGB and OGA for putting on yet another excellent PROSPEX Fair and we look forward to many more!

The PESGB would like to thank the PROSPEX 2017 sponsors (Azinor Catalyst, Chrysaor, Spectrum, Zennor Petroleum and Oil & Gas Authority) for their contributions to such a successful event.