October marks a historic but largely forgotten moment in the history of the oil sector, and something which is unlikely to ever be repeated if forecasts for the demise of the world’s most valuable fossil fuel prove accurate.
Fifty years ago, BP – then known as British Petroleum and state-owned – discovered oil off the coast of Scotland in the once mighty Forties field with the help of a GBP370 million loan. The financing would be equivalent to GBP5.5 billion ($7.16 billion) in today’s money from the then cash-strapped government of Harold Wilson.
In its heyday during the late 1970s, the cluster of wells located 110 miles off the coast of Aberdeen was producing well over 500,000 b/d of high-quality crude. The prolific field, which once made the North Sea one of the world’s most important petroleum basins, has pumped over 2.4 billion barrels of oil in its lifetime, and its current operator Apache believes it could still be producing in 20 years.
However, the more pertinent question the North Sea and the global oil industry as a whole now face is will there still be a growing market to justify investment into producing this black gold in 2040 and
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