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Thursday, 17 January, 2002, 14:54 GMT
Major oil find in North Sea
Drilling rig - general picture
The oil find is 25% more than originally expected
The discovery of new reserves of oil in the North Sea has been described as the biggest find in more than a decade.

The Buzzard Field, 125 kilometres north east of Aberdeen, is expected to yield around 400 million barrels - 25% more than was originally expected.

The development will be carried out by the Pan Canadian Energy Corporation.

It is understood the field will be on stream by about 2004.

Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson: "Huge prizes to be won"

Energy Minister Brian Wilson welcomed the find as the biggest North Sea discovery in more than a decade.

PanCanadian Energy estimated last summer that it could recover up to 300 million barrels of oil from the Buzzard Field.

However, test drilling has shown that the oil reservoir is larger than previously thought.

Mr Wilson said: "This is the biggest North Sea discovery since the Nelson Field in 1988 and confirms that there are still huge prizes to be won.

"This is a prime example of why we are working so hard with industry to get offshore blocks in the hands of the right operators."

In July last year, shares in Edinburgh, Oil and Gas more than doubled after it struck success in the Buzzard Field.

'Increased potential'

The company, which has 3,000 shareholders, owns 5% of the Buzzard well. PanCanadian Petroleum owns 45% and 20% is owned by BG, previously British Gas.

At the time, managing director Alf Bissett said it could take three to five years between discovery and bringing a well on stream in the North Sea.

Ewan Daniel, Aberdeen city council
Ewan Daniel: "Enviable field"

Jon Wormley, the executive vice president of BG, also said after the initial find that Buzzard "may be one of the most substantial finds in the North Sea in recent years, with further significant upside potential in the untested areas.

"This has the potential to increase significantly the currently established recoverable reserves."

And Ewan Daniel, of Aberdeen City Council, said: "At 800 million barrels is big compared with north field discoveries in the recent past.

"It is the largest in 10 years, possibly longer, and the appraisal has yet to be completed.

"In terms of the giant fields of the North Sea it is less than a quarter of the size of super fields. But it is still an enviable field and 10 times bigger than fields discovered in the past 20 years."

Colin Wight reports
"It's been good news for the oil industry this week"
Donald Mackay of oil consultants AUPEC
"This is the biggest oil discovery in the North Sea in about 10 years"
See also:

16 Jan 02 | Scotland
'Gas' platform workers set to return
05 Jul 01 | Scotland
Firm celebrates oil find
23 Oct 00 | Scotland
High price fuels oil boom
08 Sep 00 | Scotland
BP unveils 2.75bn investment plan
05 Sep 00 | Scotland
Positive outlook for oil industry
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