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British oil giant BP announced last week that more than 30 UK companies have been awarded contracts worth a total of over £1 billion for the development of two oil fields in the North Sea.

Contractors will be responsible for providing services and equipment for field operator BP for the development of the Schiehallion and Loyal fields, located to the west of the Shetland Islands. Combined, these two fields have already yielded close to 400 million barrels of oil since they were first launched 25 years ago. It is estimated that a further 450 million could be extracted after the additional development.

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BP has announced plans for a redevelopment project of the two fields, preparing to invest a total of £3 billion. The project consists of two main parts — the first part includes a brand new floating production, storage and offloading vessel that would replace the one operating at the moment and the second part is a large-scale upgrade of the subsea infrastructure, BP said in a statement.

Trevor Garlick, BP's regional president for the North Sea, commented that the expertise of the British subsea engineering industry could enable the operator to increase recovery from the fields over the next 20 years and beyond. These firms fully concentrate on developing innovative and advanced equipment that can facilitate operations, he added.