Blending the rules

The speed of decline of North Sea crude raises fresh concerns over the suitability of the North Sea as a benchmark, and to worries over the value of long-dated derivatives contracts. By Stella Farrington

UK North Sea oil production has fallen by almost a third in just five years, and the UK Department of Trade and Industry forecasts it to drop below 1.5 million barrels a day (b/d) by 2010 – a fall of 45% from its 1999 peak of 2.75 million barrels. And forecasts for the entire North Sea, including Norway, show oil production is set to fall from today’s 4.7 million b/d to 2.7 million b/d by 2010, with some putting it as low as 1.1 million b/d by 2030.

Although these dates seem a long way off

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