French oil major Total plans to drill an exploration well at its Sween site in the British part of the North Sea, it announced on Thursday, expanding near its existing infrastructure in defiance of weak oil prices.
Total said it will start drilling in the third quarter at the prospect located 150 kilometres east of the Shetland Islands and near its Alwyn platform. The North Sea is one of the oldest and therefore costliest areas to look for oil, resulting in a sharp reduction in exploration and output in recent years.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, visiting Britain’s oil capital Aberdeen, announced another 20-million-pound ($29 million) funding round for seismic surveys, aimed at encouraging more exploration work. He also announced the appointment of a cross-governmental oil and gas ambassador whose role will include helping British oil and gas businesses find new export markets.
Scotland, and particularly Aberdeen, has been hit hard by the slump in oil prices that has resulted in around 10,000 job cuts.
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