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Business gas: £3bn North Sea gas field given green light

Development of the largest gas field discovered in the UK for over a decade is going ahead. What does this mean for the energy industry and SME customers?

The Culzean field gas field has been approved for production by the UK Oil & Gas Authority. The large scale of deposits, estimated at 250–300 million barrels of oil equivalent, enough to satisfy 5% of UK demand at peak production, TCE reported.

Production is set to start in 2018 and continue for at least 13 years, peaking at production rates of 60,000–90,000 barrels per day, the Guardian reported. Operator Maersk Oil and partners JX Nippon and BP will invest £3bn (US$4.6bn) in the development, creating more than 400 direct jobs and supporting 6,000 more.

Reigniting the gas business

The Culzean development may go some way towards allaying mounting fears that the North Sea is well past its prime. Maersk Oil said that the project has been made possible by tax breaks introduced by the UK government that support the development of costly high-pressure, high-temperature projects.

In a statement released on the Maesk Oil company website, Andy Samuel, CEO of the Oil & Gas Authority, says, “Maersk Oil and partners’ £3bn investment to develop the Culzean discovery is excellent news for the UK during a period when the decline in global oil prices has created difficult operating conditions for this critical sector of our economy.”

The Chancellor of the Excheque George Osborne MP called the announcement “a clear signal that the North Sea is open for business”.

Impact on business gas prices

The influence outside of suppliers to the gas business will be limited. Greater security of business gas supply is always beneficial, especially given the array of unpredictable events that can influence business gas tariffs, but an extra 5% of supply can have only a limited influence on business gas rates.

Perhaps most obviously, few SMEs will be willing to wait three years for a modest reduction in gas prices.

In fact, unless you have a dedicated purchasing department, a better deal is usually available. A business price comparison doesn’t have to be onerous: just 20 minutes is enough for us to quickly compare business gas suppliers and switch you to a new deal (with us taking care of the paperwork). Give us a call on 0330 0100 251 (or request a call back using our form).

Find out more about business gas at our dedicated page.

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