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UK North Sea Oil Production To Be Maintained as Industry Moves To "Minimal Manning" Offshore

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UK North Sea oil and gas production is set to be maintained at normal levels despite the industry moving to "minimal manning" of offshore facilities in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, trade body Oil and Gas UK's health and safety director, Trevor Stapleton, said.

In a phone briefing with journalists, Stapleton said the industry was rapidly developing procedures to deal with COVID-19, which was thought to have infected a number of offshore workers in what is Europe's key oil and gas basin. UK oil production amounted to 1.1 million B/D last year.

Total North Sea output amounts to 3%–4% of global oil supply, with Norway producing some 2 million B/D, while the basin also meets a sizeable portion of Europe's gas demand.

Minimizing the number of workers posted offshore meant "production would be able to continue at normal rates and you would be doing safety-critical maintenance and some regular maintenance," Stapleton said, adding, however, hold-ups could be expected in certain instances, for example a piece of equipment failing.

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