North Sea Oil
The discovery was made by GDF Suez and BP Reuters

Oil firms BP and GDF Suez have discovered a "notable" new oilfield in the UK's Central North Sea, flow-tested at a maximum 5,350 barrels per day.

Named "Marconi" by GF Suez and "Vorlich" by BP, the discovery has been described as "encouraging" by Ruud Zoon, the boss of GF Suez's UK subsidiary.

Robert Wine, a BP spokesperson, told IBTimes UK the field was "not at the scale" of the big finds of the 1970s and early 1980s but that it is "a good discovery for the stage the North Sea" is at.

The North Sea is a mature basin that has been producing for more than 40 years.

Wine said the 5,350 barrels figure is cautionary and is tested within very tight parameters, meaning it is difficult to assess how it will transfer into practical production terms.

Industry experts, however, have said the discovery could yield 50 million barrels, the Guardian reports.

There are as yet no timelines or official figures placed on how much the oilfield could yield, or when, but the find has been welcomed by both government and industry.

Matthew Hancock, the Energy Minister, said the find shows the value of cooperation among commercial parties in the North Sea in helping to "maximise the considerable potential of remaining oil and gas reserves".

He added: "We are determined to have set the right fiscal and regulatory regimes to make sure we can get the maximum possible economic extraction of oil and gas from the North Sea."

Oonagh Werngren, CEO of Oil and Gas, the lobby group representing the industry, said: "At a time when exploration in the UKCS is facing severe investment and cost pressures it is heartening to see two UK explorers apply their expertise to understand the risks of the CNS and demonstrate that there are still significant economic plays to be developed within the basin."

The field is located in the Central North Sea area, which stretches from Aberdeen to Hartlepool.

According to BP, it is "not too remote" and should be within the proximity of existing extractive and supply chain infrastructure.

Discovery Announced Only One Month After Referendum

It comes barely a month after the referendum on Scottish independence, in which North Sea oil reserves were a huge point of debate.

The Scottish government claimed there are 24 billion barrels of oil left in the North Sea while independent reviews said there are in fact only 15 billion to 16.5 billion barrels of recoverable oil left.

In keeping with the pro-independence campaign's oil production claims, N-56, which was founded by a member of the advisory board for Yes Scotland Dan Macdonald, North Sea revenues are pegged to be as high as £365bn (€456bn, $605bn) by 2041, if a series of recommendations were implemented.

However, the UK Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast is at £61.6bn between 2013/14 and 2040/41.

Erstwhile supporters of independence have taken to social media to express strong views on the discovery.