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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Publication details for Prof Jon Gluyas

Gluyas, Jon, Tang, Longxun & Jones, Stuart (2018). Argyll Field: the first oil field to be developed on the UK Continental Shelf. In History of the European Oil and Gas Industry. Craig, J., Gerali, F., Macaulay, F. & Sorkhabi, R. London: Geological Society. 465: 77-93.

Author(s) from Durham


In June 1975, oil from the Argyll Field became the first to be produced from the UK North Sea. Seventeen years later, the Argyll Field was abandoned with all production facilities removed.

In 2001, two new companies, Acorn Oil & Gas and Tuscan Energy, had identified Argyll as a potential field redevelopment. The UK's Department of Industry was approached with a request to relicense the Argyll Field out of round in order to redevelop the field. No company previously had sought to obtain a licence for production rather than exploration.

In September 2003, a well was drilled on the renamed Ardmore Field. It flowed at 20 000 barrels of oil per day. However, after 2 months of sustained high rate, the well cut water. With a second well on stream, production peaked at 28 000 barrels of oil for 1 day before the facilities, designed for 50 000 barrels of fluid per day, tripped-out. All was not well; facilities and well issues limited production.

In mid-2005, the field was abandoned again: 5 MMbbl (million barrels) from an expected 25 MMbbl was produced. However, the story was not yet finished. By 2013 EnQuest had acquired the licence and drilled six wells. Production restart began in late 2015.