New vision for releasing tight gas off the East Anglian coast is revealed

A giant gas rig in Yarmouths's outer harbour. Picture: Nick Butcher

A giant gas rig in Yarmouths's outer harbour. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Archant � 2011

A new strategy has been revealed to better exploit gas fields in the Southern North Sea (SNS) – with the hope it could provide a boost to the industry on the East Anglian coast.

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has outlined a plan to maximise the economic recovery of 'tight gas' – which is hard to access.

The OGA estimates there are some 3.8 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of remaining gas accessible in the SNS, including adding existing wells to fields and discovering new sites.

However, tight gas reservoirs have often been disregarded as high cost and high risk, with licence holders tending to focus instead on less complex developments with lower costs.

The OGA's Southern North Sea Tight Gas Strategy has been developed to help stimulate greater use of technology and collaboration to overcome these barriers and unlock the potential in the SNS.

Eric Marston, OGA Area Manager for the Southern North Sea and East Irish Sea, said: 'Maximising recovery of tight gas represents a real opportunity to extend the life of the Southern North Sea's existing infrastructure, including the development of marginal fields and potentially the redevelopment of existing fields. In addition we can expect an upturn in activity to benefit the supply chain by building their capability and expertise in tight gas.

'There's a lot of energy in the southern sector right now with operators collaborating on some great projects to bring new developments to market. We've also been working closely with industry via the East of England Energy Group's (EEEGr) SNS Rejuvenation Special Interest Group, which in turn has been actively supporting the tight gas agenda.'

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Tight gas is natural gas produced from reservoir rocks which have such low permeability massive hydraulic fracturing is required to produce gas at an economically viable rate.

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