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British Petroleum has announced that its Eastern Trough Area Project (ETAP) will operate for almost another 20 years.

ETAP is an ambitious and complex development, which comprises multiple oil fields with differing varying ownership, while sharing a central processing facility.

At the time the area was developed, the initial seven individual fields were considered too small for commercial exploitation, so the ETAP alliance was formed to develop the fields as one.

Coming on stream in 1998, followed by two more fields four years later, ETAP was expected to last 20 years. A $1 billion investment programme in 2015 has its future for another two decades.

Day-to-day production operations are controlled by BP and more than 550 million barrels of oil) have been produced.

Commenting, Patricia Gibson MP said:

“In the 1970s, we were told that Scotland’s oil bonanza might last a decade or two, yet here we see ETAP doubling its expected production life from 20 to 40 years.

“This has only been possible thanks to the innovative, pioneering and co-operative work carried out by the oil industry, its workers and investment in the North Sea where ETAP remains a key asset.

“The North Sea oil and gas industry continues to have a bright future, with the potential for further discoveries in the years and decades ahead.”

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