Consent for West of Shetland well

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Energy Minister John Hayes has given Chevron North Sea Ltd consent to drill the deepwater Cambo-5 well, West of the Shetland Isles. Chevron…

Energy Minister John Hayes has given Chevron North Sea Ltd consent to drill the deepwater Cambo-5 well, West of the Shetland Isles.

Chevron is to drill the well as substitute operator on behalf of the block licence operator, Hess Limited, and the Cambo co-venturers.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has subjected Chevron’s applications, including the environmental impact assessment and emergency response plan, to detailed and extensive scrutiny, and the Health and Safety Executive has undertaken a thorough examination of the well design and drilling plan, with no objections to the proposals.

The Cambo-5 well, in Block 204/5a, is 136 kilometres west of the Shetland Isles in a water depth of approximately 1,090 metres.

Energy Minister John Hayes said:

“The North and West of Shetland are new frontiers for development in a resurgent UK oil and gas industry. Production from our waters provides nearly half our energy needs, supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and provides billions in revenue so it is vital we thoroughly appraise all new possible resources.

“History has taught us there is no cheap short cut for safety and environmental protection in any oil and gas activity. We have always sought to learn from our experiences and lessons from others. As a result the UK has one of the most robust and best regarded oil and gas regimes in the world.

“Chevron’s plans and their emergency response measures have been thoroughly scrutinised by my Department to make certain their conduct is of the very highest standard.”

In accordance with DECC standard guidance, as part of the assessment process Chevron provided detailed confirmation that they have taken into account the findings and recommendations of the various Macondo investigation reports.

This includes Chevron’s processes for:

  • Blow-out Preventer (BoP) management, inspection and independent verification;
  • Auditing of well cementing procedures;
  • Overall communications, management responsibilities and interaction with key contractors.

DECC has inspected the drillship and, as part of the application review process, met with Chevron to discuss aspects of the proposed drilling operations, including the emergency response procedures that are in place for the proposed offshore operations.

As part of the consultation for this consent, the Department of Energy and Climate Change considered comments from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), Marine Scotland (MS), the Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB), the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Ministry of Defence (MOD), in addition to confirming that the HSE was content with the proposed operations.

Notes for editors

  1. The UK’s environmental and safety regime is highly regarded domestically and internationally.
  2. The UK Government took rapid action following the Gulf of Mexico tragedy, doubling offshore drilling rig environmental inspections and strengthening the requirements for Oil Pollution Emergency Plans.
  3. A recent independent review recognised the merits of the UK offshore oil and gas regime, including its stringent assessment of possible environmental impacts and its comprehensive emergency response framework.
  4. Through continuous improvement of its safety and environmental regulatory regime the Government strives to ensure it stays at the forefront of the global oil and gas industry.