The study used financial simulations to create a model for the oil industry over the next three decades—and assumed all the different market prices to justify different levels of extraction.
At $70 per barrel and 60 pence per therm, oil and gas recovery was projected to exceed 17 billion barrels of oil equivalent by 2050. However, researchers noted that cost inflation was a greater danger at this price and could “endanger the economic viability of some projects.”
The researchers stated that at $70 per barrel, almost £330bn($426bn) would be spent on extracting oil from offshore fields.
At $60 a barrel, those extraction and operating costs lessened to £272bn ($350bn), generating a cumulative production of 14.8bn barrels to 2050.
By 2014, an estimated 40bn barrels of oil had been extracted from the North Sea.
Ahead of UK Finance Minister Philip Hammond’s budget announcement on Monday, there has been speculation that the industry may see a hike on taxes. Alan Brown, energy spokesperson for the Scottish National Party, stated that the party wanted a more stable fiscal regime for the oil and gas industry.
He stated: “These latest revisions to forecasts confirm the major economic potential that North Sea oil reserves has to offer, with an expected 4 billion barrels more than 2017 estimates.”
“It’s more important than ever that the Tories at Westminster rule out any hikes in tax for the oil and gas sector and instead support the future of the industry with new incentives for exploration to provide a long-term boost to both production and revenues.” He further stated.
Oil is currently trading above $70 a barrel, with investment banks and hedge funds saying as recently as this month that prices had rallied too far too fast.
Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, told CNBC’s “Worldwide Exchange” on Monday, that unlikely contenders Nigeria Libya could influence whether or not oil reached $100 a barrel.