ENERGY company Total has announced a major gas discovery off Shetland, with initial tests at a site on the Glendronach prospect indicating there could be about one trillion cubic feet of gas ready for extraction.
Total’s Arnaud Breuillac said the discovery could be commercialised by using the current Laggan-Tormore infrastructure.
Total has a 60 per cent stake in the site.
Energy company SSE and chemicals firm Ineos each have a 20 per cent interest.
Mr Breuillac, Total’s president of exploration and production, said the gas was a “significant discovery”.
He said: “It gives us access to additional gas resources in one of our core areas and validates our exploration strategy.
“Located on an emerging play of the prolific west of Shetland area, the discovery can be commercialised quickly and at low cost.”
SSE wholesale director Martin Pibworth said: “This discovery represents a major addition to SSE’s recoverable gas resources.
“Gas production assets are a natural complement to SSE’s interests in gas-fired power generation and gas supply to business customers.
“They are expected to add to SSE’s earnings from gas production in due course.
“In the meantime, we will continue to support exploration and appraisal activities around our existing assets.”
The discovery was welcomed by local MP Alistair Carmichael.
The MP for Orkney and Shetland, said: “This discovery is good news, and will ensure that Shetland remains a vital part of the UK’s Energy industry for many years to come.
“The waters to the West of Shetland are difficult to work in but as this discovery shows there are big rewards to be won.
“The challenge for government now is to manage the decommissioning phase for mature North Sea assets while exploiting the maximum benefit for new developments such as this.”
The Greater Laggan area is about 125km (78 miles) north west of Shetland.
It comes after it was revealed Scottish sales for oil and gas soared nearly 20 percent in 2017-2018 period, even as production levels dipped.
Figures released by the Scottish government showed sales valued is up by just under £17 million compared to 2016-2017.
Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse, said: “These figures reflect the increased price of oil and gas on the global markets and show confidence is continuing to return to the sector.
“Capital investment in oil and gas fields in Scottish waters remains strong at around £6 billion in financial year 2017-18, and oil production is up slightly.
“At the same time the industry faces continuing challenges, including issues around exploration, and the Scottish Government will continue to do what we can to support the sector.”