HC Deb 01 February 1994 vol 236 c614W
Mr. Callaghan

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is his estimate of the proportion of United Kingdom oil and gas reserves which have so far been taken from offshore fields.

Mr. Eggar

Cumulative oil and gas production to the end of 1992 has been 1,560 million tonnes and 855 billion cu m respectively. The range of estimated reserves on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf—UKCS—that is, onshore and offshore, is as follows:

United Kingdom initially recoverable reserves (31 December 1992)
Range of estimates Oil (million tonnes) Gas (billion cubic metres)
Lower Upper Lower Upper
Discovered 2,170 3,635 1,465 2,720
Potential additional reserves 160 500 140 325
Undiscovered 530 3,370 270 1,277
Total 2,860 7,505 1,875 4,322

The data are published in table 7 on page 20 of my Department's "Development of the Oil and Gas Reserves of the United Kingdom", a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. Part 2 of the publication provides more detail of the reserves and explains how they are estimated. The limits of the ranges should not be regarded as maxima and minima.

The figures do not provide an indication of the longevity of UKCS reserves. In recent years, the annual increment to estimates of reserves has often been larger than the amount produced in the year. At the end of 1992, for example, estimated remaining proven plus probable reserves of oil were about 135 million tonnes higher than the equivalent at the end of 1991; that is, the reserves increased by 230 million tonnes whilst production in 1992 was 94 million tonnes.