Jan. 31 (UPI) -- With the announcement of two new discoveries in the North Sea, British energy company BP said Wednesday it could double its production there by 2020.
The company announced discoveries at its Capercaillie site in the central waters of the North Sea and at Achmelvich, west of the Shetland Islands. Both wells were drilled last summer and the company said it was reviewing the well results to determine the next steps.
"These are exciting times for BP in the North Sea as we lay the foundations of a refreshed and revitalized business that we expect to double production to 200,000 barrels a day by 2020 and keep producing beyond 2050," Mark Thomas, BP's North Sea regional president, said in a statement.
Working under the Quad 204 regional redevelopment effort, the company started oil production from the Schiehallion area west of the Shetland area of the North Sea last year. BP has produced nearly 400 million barrels of oil from Schiehallion since production started in the late 1990s and the company said redevelopment could yield another 450 million barrels and extend the field's life into the 2030s.
The North Sea redevelopment is one of seven major projects that BP has planned across its entire portfolio. New production from the Clair Ridge project in the North Sea is expected later this year and the company said it plans to drill dozens of new wells in the region before the end of the decade.
"We are hopeful that Capercaillie and Achmelvich may lead to further additions to our North Sea business, sitting alongside major developments like Quad 204," Thomas said.
The company opted to reduce its North Sea headcount as it moved to streamline operations during the market downturn in 2016. Trade group Oil & Gas U.K. said in a statement that BP's new vision for the North Sea shows this year has the definitive signs of oil sector recovery.
"Our competitive fiscal terms, and the strides we have made to bring our finding costs in line with our peers, make the U.K. continental shelf a very attractive basin for doing business," Chief Executive Deirdre Michie said.
Royal Dutch Shell in mid-January made a final investment decision to redevelop the Penguins oil and gas field in the British waters of the North Sea using a floating production, storage and offloading vessel.
The project is expected to stay competitive so long as the price of crude oil stays above $40 per barrel and is the first plan for a manned installation for the North Sea in nearly 30 years.
Brent, the global benchmark for the price of oil, was trading near $68 per barrel early Wednesday.