Maersk Oil will drill an exploration well on the Maja licence in the Danish North Sea after the Danish Energy Agency (DEA) granted it a two-year extension to two licences in the region.
The well will target a High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) prospect in the licence and will be drilled within the next two years after substantial preparatory work is completed. Danish North Sea HPHT wells typically cost about $100 million because of the specialised equipment and the time necessary to drill in these technically challenging conditions.
“We believe there is more oil and gas to be found in the Danish North Sea both in the maturely developed shallower levels and also in the less mature deeper geologic horizons. Teams tht are pushing innovative new technology are behind this latest activity, continuing our exploration efforts in the Danish North Sea,” said Esbern Hoch, Head of Exploration for Denmark, Greenland and the Middle East North Africa region.
“We will be committing not just substantial financial resources, but also a lot of people, time and technical expertise to this project. Maersk Oil has been developing its HPHT capabilities in recent years in both Denmark and the UK and we will be drawing on this experience,” Hoch said.
The Maja licence lies close to the Maersk Oil-operated Harald gas field and 40 kilometres north of the licences operated by the Danish Underground Consortium (DUC). The well will be drilled in water depths of 50 metres and to a total depth of around 5,000 metres.
HPHT conditions are defined by temperatures in the rock of above 149 degrees Celsius and pressures above 700 bars. Such conditions demand more preparatory work than usual, for example additional pressure modelling, as well as the use of specific drilling rigs and hardware to ensure drilling is safe.
PA Resources withdrew from the Maja licence following its extension, granted by the DEA last week. Subsequently, PA Resources’ 26.8% share in the licence has been split proportionally among Maersk Oil and its other partners. Maersk Oil now holds a 42.62% share in the licence with DONG Energy (27.32%), Noreco (16.39%) and Danoil (13.66%) as partners.
The DEA also extended for two years Maersk Oil’s Gita licence, lying next to Maja. Maersk Oil plans to integrate new data over the license and perform further technical evaluations before deciding on further steps for this area. Maersk Oil is operator of Gita (31.2%) with PA Resources (26.8%), The North Sea Fund (20%), Noreco (12%) and Danoil (10%) as partners.
Press Release, June 27, 2012