21st Century Roadmap

One of the key actions of the Wood Report was that Government and Industry should together create an up-to-date, readily accessible, digital perspective on the prospectivity and geology of the UKCS.

To further this aim, the 21st Century Roadmap Technical Advisory Committee, which reports to the MER Exploration Taskforce, is responsible for a five-year plan of regional subsurface studies to support ongoing exploration initiatives and future licensing activities.

The Technical Advisory Committee will openly invite tenders for technical projects and ensure that studies are effectively managed and delivered to the benefit of project sponsors and MER UK. The committee is chaired by the OGA, and has representation from the following organisations: Azinor Catalyst, BayernGas, BP, Chevron, Hurricane Energy, Ineos, Shell and Siccar Point Energy.

The OGA expectation is that all companies that hold an Exploration or Production Licence in the UK will contribute funding, data and knowledge to these studies and actively participate with a genuinely collaborative spirit.

Active projects

Following on from the completion and release of the Phase 1 studies carried out in the East Shetland Platform and SW Approaches, a second phase of study is now underway jointly funded by the OGA and a participating group of 15 companies.

The technical scope issued for tender comprised 4 different Lots, based primarily around demonstrating the presence of an active petroleum system in these areas. The Invitation to Tender requested submissions for the following technical Lots:

  • Lot 1 - Well Data Sampling
  • Lot 2 - High-grade areas with potential for hydrocarbon seeps and/or slicks
  • Lot 3 - Slick sampling and analysis
  • Lot 4 – Seep sampling and analysis

The OGA received tender submissions for both Lot 1 and Lot 2. The tender evaluation panel comprised three OGA staff plus a representative from the 21CXRM Technical Advisory Committee and the contract for Lot 1 and Lot 2 was recently awarded to APT. As with previous jointly funded 21CXRM projects, the results of the project will be subject to a period of exclusivity to the Participating Group until after the 31st Frontier Licencing Round has been closed and any resulting licences have been awarded.

Enquiries about this current project or any other aspect of the 21CXRM should be directed to: Jo.Bagguley@ogauthority.co.uk

Proposed projects

The future direction of the 21CXRM is currently being reviewed by the OGA in conjunction with the 21CXRM Technical Advisory Committee. Resulting proposals will then be presented to the MER Exploration Task Force for feedback and endorsement with a view to sharing with the wider industry in Q1 2018.

Completed projects

  • Moray Firth – Central North Sea post well analyses


    A post well analysis of exploration and appraisal wells drilled during 2003-2013 in the Moray Firth and the UK central North Sea has been carried out. Wells fall into three categories: dry, technical success, and commercial success. The project focused on the dry wells and the technical but not commercial successes. This was a deliberate move to ensure that we captured key learnings that could be transferred across industry.

    The Project objectives:

    • Fully understand the reasons why each prospect was drilled, i.e. understanding its geological and petroleum settings;
    • Attempt to understand the reasons for success and failure of wells over the 10 year period;
    • Share the main findings with the industry;
    • Test the Wood Review’s “Collaborative Model”.

    Wells in the project

    150 Exploration main bores plus exploration side-tracks were drilled between 2003 and 2013, by 42 Operating Companies. Of these, 98 wells and have been reviewed, allowing an in depth post drill analysis of 104 segments (note on segments - one exploration well may target several superimposed petroleum objectives or well segments).

    Project phases

    The first project stage consisted of selecting the wells to be reviewed and establishing the template for a Post Well Analysis Sheet to summarise the main results of each well.

    The second stage consisted of one-to-one workshops with operating companies to compare the pre-drill prospect description with the final well results and subsequent interpretations, in order to understand and agree the main reasons for well failure.

    The third phase was to develop a selection of case histories. This involved multi-company workshops, gathering Operators who had drilled the same petroleum play in the same geological setting, and encouraging them to share their understanding of the main reasons for failure.

    Final results

    Final results were presented to the industry at the O&GUK Annual Conference in Aberdeen on June the 17th, 2015, at the PGC VIII conference held in London on the 29th September 2015 and at a PESGB evening lecture on the 20th of October in Aberdeen.

    Copies of the Presentation, Post Well Analysis Sheet, Map and well list are below:

  • Regional Petroleum Systems Analysis of the Palaeozoic

    Overview and sponsorship

    This geoscientific study was commissioned by DECC (now OGA) as part of their Maximising Recovery Programme (OG-MRP) contract with the British Geological Survey (BGS).

    The study was operated as a Joint Industry Project (JIP) with approximately 50% Government funding and 50% industry funding, with a contribution from Oil & Gas UK. The project started in January 2015. Oil & Gas UK continued their support while responsibility for the whole 21XCRM project management transferred to the OGA towards the end of the project. For the Palaeozoic study, BGS provided the day to day project management, with a JIP Board and Technical Steering Committee, of which the OGA and Oil & Gas UK were active participants.

    Results from this work have been supplied to the JIP sponsors in the first instance – the composition of released material being subject to agreement with the various Intellectual Property Right owners. The project was delivered prior to the opening of the 29th Licencing Round, and sponsors had exclusive access to the results until after the Round was closed.

    The high level aim of the project was to:

      • Encourage research deeper and wider than the conventional hydrocarbon horizons
      • Develop a strong, consistent regional data-set to provide a platform for more specific oil & gas exploration studies
      • Develop a new scientific understanding
        • that down-risks some of the critical play elements
        • that stimulates new ideas for plays and prospectivity
      • Provoke
        • new data acquisition
        • additional analysis and interpretation programmes
      • Lead to
        • licence activity
        • significant exploration well activity
        • economic commercial success rates

    The remit was to maximise collaboration and knowledge sharing to create a starting point that enables both licence holders and service providers to leverage their competitive strengths and maximise commercial success on the UKCS as follows:

      • Achieve the best understanding we can to ensure that a greater number of more successful wells are drilled by the industry
      • Develop win-win arrangements for optimal use of commercially owned IP such as seismic data
      • Facilitate a fully integrated collaborative approach across the whole industry

    Project scope, plan and deliverables

    The project had three phases which covered the Devonian and Carboniferous stratigraphic intervals in the following areas

      • Central North Sea/Mid North Sea High
      • Moray Firth/Orcadian Basin
      • Irish Sea


    Delivery of final results from the Central North Sea/Mid North Sea High area was made to Sponsors at the end of March 2016 and was tied in to the release of seismic data from the government funded acquisition programme, giving industry new insights into key areas of the North Sea. Subsequent products from the Irish Sea and Orcadian Basin areas were delivered to Sponsors at the end of May 2016, marking the end of the 21CXRM Palaeozoic project.

    Workflow and deliverables

    The workflow for the Palaeozoic project allowed industry to investigate key components of the petroleum systems within the Carboniferous and Devonian by integrating well data and modern offshore seismic data with UK onshore knowledge.

    Project results have been delivered digitally and include interpretations of seismic, well and gravity data, along with burial/uplift/maturity modelling, source rock geochemistry studies and palaeographic reconstructions, to inform the location of prospective Carboniferous and Devonian play elements.

    Data and knowledge sharing

    All companies and individuals were welcome to contribute data and knowledge to the project, subject to ownership and confidentiality rights. However contribution in-kind did not qualify for participation as a sponsor.

    Maps and a Powerpoint which illustrate the Palaeozoic study

    Following the closure of the 29th Licence Round and subsequent licence awards, the results of the Palaeozoic Study are now being published via the BGS’s Offshore Geoindex.

    Links to the Offshore Geoindex can also be found on the OGA’s Open Data Portal.

  • East Shetland Platform and SW Approaches Phase 1 Studies


    As part of the 21CXRM initiative and in collaboration with the 21CXRM Technical Advisory Committee, the OGA awarded various contracts for an initial phase (Phase 1) of petroleum system related studies for both the East Shetland Platform and South West Approaches areas. The main objective of the studies was to enhance industry knowledge and understanding of both areas ahead of the 31st Frontier Licencing Round, with particular focus on gaining more insight into the structural evolution and source rock potential of the two areas.

    The projects in the East Shetland Platform were awarded to FROGTECH and IGI Ltd whilst the South West Approaches projects were awarded to Getech and BGS. All of these studies were wholly funded by the OGA and were recently released as part of the wider 2016 Government Seismic Data release on the 27th November 2017.

    Results and Deliverables

    The results and deliverables from all of these Phase 1 studies can be downloaded directly from the OGA’s Data Centre as part of the Pre-31st Round Data Release interactive map