The major North Sea oilfields, discovered during the 1970's, will be well into their decline within the next ten years. During this period operators will be faced with a number of decisions concerning workover, infill drilling, artificial lift, EOR and, ultimately, abandonment.

This paper places a number of factors against an economic background and highlights problems that may be encountered in justification of various actions proposed to recover additional reserves. The work also addresses the problems of field abandonment.

Results show that, in the U.K. sector, the form of the PRT allowances, together with the scale of abandonment cost to both government and operator, will encourage the delay of abandonment for as long as possible. This, together with the awareness that net income over the final years will be dedicated solely to abandonment, must strongly colour companies approach to the last years of production.

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