Oil in United Kingdom

Recoverable reserves400million tonnes

Production52million tonnes per year

Production ratio8years

Proved recoverable reserves, as reported by the UK WEC Member Committee, are based on a report by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) entitled UK Oil and Gas

According to Oil & Gas Journal (OGJ), the UK had 3.1 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves as of January 2013, the most of any EU member country. In 2012, the UK produced 1.0 million barrels per day of oil (bbl/d) and consumed 1.5 million bbl/d.

The vast majority of UK’s reserves are located offshore in the UK continental shelf (UKCS), and most of the oil production occurs in the central and northern sections of the North Sea. Although there is a modest amount of oil produced onshore, in 2012 more than 90 percent of total UK production took place offshore. In 2012, UK produced approximately 1 million bbl/d of liquid fuels, of which about 881,000 bbl/d was crude oil. The 2012 liquid fuels production level was about 14 percent lower than the 2011 production level, and it reached the lowest production level since the 1970s. EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook expects UK oil production to continue to decline, remaining below 1 million bbl/d through the end of 2014. The main reason for this decline is the overall maturity of the country’s oil fields and diminishing prospects for new substantial discoveries in the future. Although its proximity to major consuming markets makes UK exploration attractive, recent increases in taxes will continue to affect the attractiveness of the UK fields in the longer term.

Despite the large declines in oil production over the last few years, the UK is still one of the largest petroleum producers and exporters in Europe. In 2011, the UK exported approximately 90,000 bbl/d. Export data published by UK’s Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs show that the vast majority (82 percent) of crude oil exports were destined to EU countries, mainly Germany and Netherlands. The United Kingdom is also a significant oil importer, receiving more than 1 million bbl/d in 2011. According to UK’s Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the majority (67 percent) of the imports came from Norway, a decline from the 72-percent share the previous year. The remainder of UK oil imports came from Russia (8 percent), Nigeria (7 percent), and the Middle East (2 percent).


Oil data represents Crude Oil only, for extra-heavy oil and oil shale please refer to the WER 2013 report oil chapter.