chapter  4
98 Pages

The early gas contracts

The fi rst gas discovery in the UKCS occurred in Block 48/6 and was announced by the operator, BP, in September 1965. There were initially doubts about its commercial signifi cance, but very soon afterwards the company reported that tests had indicated that the fi nd was encouraging. Events thereafter moved with remarkable speed. On 10th December 1965, the BP Chairman, Sir Maurice Bridgeman, accompanied by Mr Steel and Mr Luard called at the Ministry of Power and reported that the results were so encouraging that the company had made a fi rm offer to the Gas Council to supply gas at the rate of 50 million cubic feet per day (mm cf/d) starting in early 1967 if a decision could be taken by January 1966. The company argued that an early decision was necessary because the pipeline needed to bring the gas ashore could only be laid in the summer months. A quick decision would also mean that they could obtain fi rst use of a pipe-laying barge currently under construction in the Netherlands.