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Press Release

Herausgeber: Internationales Wirtschaftsforum Regenerative Energien (IWR)

Less oil: North Sea oil extraction falls in 2011 to lowest level in 30 years

Muenster, Germany – Oil has been extracted from the North Sea for more than forty years now. According to a study by IWR, a renewable energy institute in Muenster, the amount of oil drilled from the North Sea is dropping faster than previously believed, with only 124.7 million t of crude oil extracted in 2011. This represents a fall of 12 percent against the previous year (140 million t in 2010) and takes oil extraction in the area to its lowest level in 30 years (1982). IWR Director Dr Norbert Allnoch said, "Compared to the record-breaking year of 1996, which saw 260 million t drilled from the sea, oil extraction has already fallen by as much as around 50 percent." The IWR study used data supplied by government organisations from oil producing countries on the North Sea − Great Britain, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany.

- Newly discovered oil fields cannot stop the drop in North Sea oil -
Since the peak in oil extraction in 1996, North Sea oil fields have continued to supple less and less oil. According to Allnoch, even newly discovered and supposedly large oil fields cannot prevent the general decline of North Sea oil; at best, he said, they simply extend drilling activities for fractionally longer. "We would have to uncover a new huge oil field each year with a capacity of 125 million t to be able to even maintain current oil extraction rates. But this is just a fantasy", Allnoch explained. If oil extraction is kept at the same level as 2011 (125 million t), the known and tested reserve fields in the North Sea will only last until 2020. If the as yet unconfirmed reserves were actually found to exist, this would mean drilling could go on for a little longer, but nevertheless, according to Allnoch, "the amount of North Sea oil will largely be insignificant in in 10 years’ time".

- North Sea in transition: from oil field to wind farm -
Allnoch believes that the North Sea will continue to be used as a source of energy. The coming years will see the oil industry take a back seat, while the offshore wind industry is already picking up in Great Britain, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. "The offshore wind industry is now where the offshore oil industry was in 1971, when North Sea oil extraction began. This industry has overcome enormous challenges posed by new extraction technologies and innovations, something that the offshore wind industry will also experience," said Allnoch, who is confident that Europe can continue to provide a safe supply of energy using its own sources.

Oil extraction from the North Sea began in the early seventies. The oil crisis of 1973/74 made drilling for oil in the North Sea all the more lucrative. Great Britain, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany are the five countries involved in oil extraction in this area. One of the first known major oil fields named "Brent" (north-east of the Shetland Isles) is symbolic of North Sea oil. The price of Brent oil is a major benchmark on the stock markets. Oil extraction in the North Sea has followed a bell-shaped curve, with oil production rising to 260 million t (peak oil) from 1971 to 1996 before falling ever faster in recent years.
Around 90.5 million t of crude oil was imported to Germany in 2011. The largest suppliers of oil are Russia (34.7 million t), followed by Great Britain (12.7 million t), Norway (7.4 million t) and Nigeria (5.4 million t).

Publication and Reprint free of charge; please send a voucher copy to the International Economic Platform for Renewable Energies (IWR).

Attention editorial offices: For further questions please contact Mr.
Dr. Norbert Allnoch, International Economic Platform for Renewable Energies (IWR).

Soester Str. 13
48155 Muenster
Phone: +49 (0)251 / 23 94 6-0
Fax: +49 (0)251 / 23 946-10
Email: info@iwr-institut.de
Internet: http://www.iwr-insitute.com


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About Internationales Wirtschaftsforum Regenerative Energien (IWR)

In 1996, the International Economic Platform for Renewable Energies (IWR) was established as an independent and private service institution of the renewable energy industry. The IWR focuses on the fields of research, economic and policy consultation as well as media and international networks in the renewable or regenerative energies sector. One main objective of the IWR is to play an instrumental role in introducing and spreading awareness for an industrial, international business profile of the renewable energy industry.
Dr. Norbert Allnoch, Director of the International Economic Platform of Renewable Energies (IWR), 1995, on the definition: "According to our definition, the Renewable Energy Industry is one which takes an interdisciplinary approach to the issue of renewable energy supply (protecting both the climate and resources) and the construction of renewable plants and systems (industry policy for the three areas electricity, heat and fuel."Chronology of the Renewable Energy Industry - Important IWR contributions, including prizes and awards - 2007 Publication of the first structural analysis for a federal state according to the IWR-analysis method for renewable systems engineering and services�(study "Zur Lage der regenerativen Energiewirtschaft in NRW" )2007 International network-contacts:IWR-director Dr. Allnoch speaks with King Harald V. of Norway and �slaug Haga, norwegian minister of energy Presentation of the network / RENIXX in the USA, dialogue with McGinty, environment minister of Pennsylvania2006 IWR starts renewable stock index RENIXX� (

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