Shell in the North Sea
Shell has been part of the development of the UK’s oil and gas since 1964 when the first exploration licenses were granted.
When we started exploring in the North Sea it was seen as one of the most technically demanding sites in the world. Even though the waters are relatively shallow, at about 200m, the tides, currents and frequent storms made working there very difficult.
In response to these challenges, new technologies have been pioneered in the North Sea that are now used elsewhere in the world. These include innovative drilling techniques such as extended reach drilling and the technology that allows us to work in high pressure, high temperature environments. Over the years, this commitment to innovation has enabled us to access more oil and gas than we originally thought possible.
Our first major oil discovery was the Brent Field in 1971 which started producing oil in 1976 and remains in production today, although it is now reaching the end of its life. Our first gas field was the 1966 Leman field in the Southern North Sea.