IOG hires Transocean rig for Skipper well (UK)

Independent Oil and Gas plc (IOG), the North Sea-focused oil and gas company, has signed a rig contract with Transocean to procure the Transocean John Shaw semi-submersible rig to drill the company’s appraisal well on the Skipper oil discovery in the UK North Sea. 

The Skipper oil discovery is located in Block 9/21a in the Northern North Sea in licence P1609. The company recently entered into loan agreements to help fund the drilling of the appraisal well.

IOG says it anticipates that the rig will start drilling operations at Skipper in late January or early February 2016 with the objective of retrieving good quality reservoir condition oil samples in order to design the optimum field development plan for the Skipper field. The rig will drill a vertical well to 5,600ft which is expected to take approximately 25 days.

Skipper is an offshore heavy oil field located in the Northern North Sea with independently verified gross 2C resources of 26.2 MMBbls. IOG management says it estimates that Skipper has 34.1 MMBbls of recoverable oil based on a recovery factor of 25%, compared to the historic CPR estimate of 19%. The well will also target two exploration prospects directly beneath the Skipper oil discovery in the Lower Dornoch and Maureen formations, in which the CPR authors have mapped structures which could contain an additional 46 MMBbls of oil in place. If oil is present in these structures, it would be co-developed with Skipper in line with the company’s hub strategy, IOG said.

IOG intends to drill the Skipper well as 100% owner, which requires completion of the sale and purchase agreement to acquire 50% of the licence from Alpha Petroleum Ltd. As previously announced, the deadline for the completion of this agreement has been extended to December 21, 2015. The company also requires the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) to approve IOG North Sea Limited as licence operator and AGR Well Management Limited (AGR) as well operator.

Mark Routh, CEO of IOG commented: “Following our recent funding, the signing of this semi-submersible rig contract with Transocean is the breakthrough we’ve been waiting for. This allows us to drill the Skipper well in the New Year which will enable us to optimise the Skipper Field Development Plan in addition to targeting two exploration prospects at low cost. We hope to provide further updates regarding approvals from the OGA in the near future.”

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