ABERDEEN, Scotland, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- London awarded British energy company BP and its partners the right to move ahead with a $7 billion oil development plan west of the Shetland Islands, BP said.
BP said it was investing billions of dollars in North Sea oil developments to exploit the Clair Ridge field west of the Shetland Islands. British Prime Minister David Cameron said the projects indicated continued interest in the North Sea region.
BP Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley said the company was keen to maintain production levels from the North Sea at more than 200,000 barrels of oil per day for the next 20 years.
"And we are working on projects that will take production from some of our largest fields out towards 2050," he said.
The Clair Ridge project could produce as much as 640 million barrels of oil. It's expected to come on stream within the next four years and production could extend into 2050, BP said in a statement.
Clair Ridge is among four projects that BP is working on in the North Sea. Together, they represent almost $15 billion in new North Sea investments during the next five years.
"Although it began over forty years ago, the story of the North Sea oil industry has a long way yet to run," said Dudley. "BP has produced some 5 billion barrels of oil and gas equivalent so far from the region and we believe we have the potential for over 3 billion more."