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Britain aims to revitalize North Sea energy

Feb. 24, 2014 at 8:01 AM

LONDON, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Britain's economy could get more than $300 billion during the next 20 years from exploiting the oil reserves in the North Sea, the government said Monday.

The government said it was moving forward with recommendations from retired businessman Ian Wood, who led a panel tasked with finding ways to breathe new life into North Sea reserves.

Oil and natural gas production in the North Sea declined by 40 percent in the past three years.

The region's economy relies on the North Sea for about half of its used resources and Wood said there were still opportunities off the British coast.

"The [continental shelf] has changed radically over the last 20 years," he said in a statement Monday. "While some regions are mature, there are still frontier areas and significant emerging potential where technology is opening up important new plays."

By focusing on a regional strategy, rather than specific fields, and funneling more investments into the North Sea, the government said it could secure $330 billion during the next two decades through the recovery of the 3 billion to 4 billion barrels of oil equivalent Wood says is still left in the North Sea.

British Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said in a statement the recommendations are "good for our energy security [and] good for the economy."

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