BP Wytch Farm Field Wins Queen's Environmental Award

abarrelfullabarrelfull wrote on 06 Aug 2012 08:48

21 April 1995

Royal recognition has been won by BP Exploration for its Wytch Farm oilfield development in Dorset.

The oilfield, currently undergoing its third phase of expansion, has won The Queen's Award for Environmental Achievement 1995. The Award is an acknowledgement of the innovative and technologically challenging manner in which the offshore section of the reservoir, situated a mile beneath the surface of Poole Bay, is being developed by extended reach drilling from onshore with minimum impact on the environment.

In making the award, the Queen's Award Office stated: "A number of adverse factors had to be overcome because of the unique ecological, environmental and amenity value of the area and the shallowness of the oil reservoir."

By pushing the techniques of extended reach drilling to new record breaking limits, at angles in excess of 90 degrees, the Wytch Farm team has enabled drilling and subsequent oil production to take place from a four acre, onshore site hidden from public view.

This has resulted in significantly less environmental impact than the original development concept, which was to drill traditional wells from a 30 acre artificial island to be built in Poole Bay.

The oilfield, currently producing around 95,000 barrels of oil a day, is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty featuring Heritage Coastline, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Special Protection Areas, National Trust land and National Nature Reserves.

In addition to the clear environmental benefits achieved by drilling extended reach wells from a small onshore location, there is also a business advantage - capital expenditure has been halved, operating expenditure has been reduced and first oil production from the offshore section of the reservoir has been accelerated by three years.

"The Award is a great tribute to the many people who have contributed to the successful development of the oilfield," said a delighted Steve Marshall, Manager, Wytch Farm. "Such an achievement could not have been made without forming real partnerships with our contractors, external agencies, such as Dorset County Council, English Nature and the Dorset Wildlife Trust, and other statutory, voluntary and community organisations.
"Such partnerships, which have characterised Wytch Farm's history over the past ten years, have been a key factor in successfully integrating Europe's largest onshore oilfield into such a uniquely sensitive environment.

"I am enormously proud to receive this Award on behalf of all those who have played a part in this remarkable development."


The key members of the team involved in the extended reach drilling programme are: BP, Deutag, Anadrill, Baroid, Schlumberger and Lasalle

The Wytch Farm oilfield lies under Poole Harbour in Dorset, on the south coast of England, and extends eastwards under Poole Bay, with initial recoverable reserves of around 300 million barrels of oil (One barrel = 35 gallons.)

The field comprises two main reservoirs - the Bridport, a Jurassic sandstone at 924 metres below surface, and the Sherwood, a Triassic sandstone at a depth of 1585 metres. The Bridport has original estimated recoverable reserves of 30 million barrels of oil and the Sherwood approximately 270 million barrels. It is the Sherwood reservoir into which the extended reach wells are being drilled

Seven extended reach wells have been drilled into the structure since April 1993, from the 'F' and 'M' wellsites on the Goathorn peninsula. The most recently completed, 'M3', achieved a world record step-out (distance measured horizontally from wellsite to end of well trajectory) at that depth of 6.8 kms

Construction of the new wellsite 'M' was completed in June and the fifth well, 'M1', was spudded from this site on 3 August. It is proposed to drill a further six wells from this site, some with a horizontal step-out in excess of 6kms

Wellsite 'M' is approximately four acres in size (the same as 'F') and as part of the mitigation measures in the planning process, BP has agreed with English Nature, Dorset County Council and the landowners (Rempstone Estate) to take an additional 64 acres of land on Goathorn peninsula to manage back to prime heathland habitat

The Wytch Farm oilfield has received the following awards in addition to The Queen's Award for Environmental Achievement:

  • 1982 - Royal Town Planning Institute Silver Jubilee Cup
  • 1988 - World Environment Centre (New York) Gold Medal
  • 1991 - British Association of Landscape Industries Principal Award
  • 1992 - RSA Better Environment for Industry Award
  • 1992 - Commendation - European Better Environment Awards For Industry
  • 1992 - The British Archaeological Awards Sponsorship Award

The partners in the Wytch Farm oilfield development are:

  • BP Exploration (operator) 50.475%
  • ARCO British Ltd 17.334%
  • Premier Consolidated Oilfields Plc 12.381%
  • Clyde Petroleum (Dorset) Ltd 7.429%
  • Purbeck Exploration Ltd 7.429%
  • Goal Petroleum Plc 4.952%

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