A forecast upturn in oil markets by 2022 could unleash a fresh wave of investments in offshore oil projects the carbon dioxide footprints of which are far less than that of shale, according to a report.

Rob West, founder of US-based energy technology research consultancy Thunder Said Energy (TSE), believes oil markets look primed for a new up-cycle by 2022 that could culminate in Brent crude prices exceeding $80 per barrel, giving confidence to greenfield offshore investors.

Together with the deployment of improved technology, writes West in an 18-page report, “this is sufficient to unlock 20% internal rate of returns (IRRs) on the next generation of offshore projects and excite another cycle of offshore exploration and development".