Fluctuations in oil price has undoubtedly affected development project timing in the last decade. Within the last year some 25 fields in the UK have been delayed by at least one year following a reduction in estimates of long term oil price. The paper derives relationships between field delay and a number of variables and shows that there is an inherent time lag in the UK system of about 1 year. It also demonstrates that the difference between expected and actual oil price is an important determinant of the likelihood of field delay. The paper also shows that use of new technology was accelerated in the UK by a large drop in oil price during 1986. By considering Norway, the paper discusses how the maturity of the industry and the political environment affects the results found in the UK.

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