Spanish oil giant Repsol is experiencing difficulties with its drilling operation offshore Namibia.
According to Tower Resources, a company which owns a share in the Namibia PEL0010 block in which Repsol is the operator, following the spud of Welwitschia-1 on May 1, and installation of the 36-inch casing it was observed that the wellhead housing had “slumped”.
A decision was taken by the JV Partners to plug and abandon the Welwitschia-1 well and re-spud the well as Welwitschia-1A at a distance of approximately 50 metres from the original spud location. Welwitschia-1A was spud at 3:30am on 1 May 2014 with no recurrence of the above issue. Despite the delay, it was expected that the re-spud would not impact on the overall cost or timing of the well.
Repsol has since reported a further operational delay to the drilling programme due to a fault with part of the Blow Out Preventer (“BOP”) control system. Drilling has been suspended whilst Repsol and the drilling contractor, Rowan, are taking measures to rectify the fault so that they are able to recommence drilling safely. It is estimated that commissioning issues relating to the BOP control system will delay further drilling until the end of May 2014.
The current status of the well is that the casing has been set to a depth of 1,879 metres and Tower expects drilling into the primary target section shortly following the restart of drilling operations.
The cost implications of the delay are currently being examined by the JV Partners and depend upon allocation between Repsol and the drilling contractor, Rowan.
However, Tower says it is the view of Tower and the JV Partners that the well will be completed within budget despite the recent delays.
Jeremy Asher, Tower Resources’ Chairman, said: “It is not unusual to encounter technical issues with new equipment and in particular BOPs on-board a new drill-ship such as the Rowan Renaissance. However, safety is of paramount importance to Tower and its JV Partners and we are confident that Repsol and Rowan will resolve the BOP issues shortly and we look forward to informing the market when drilling recommences. These issues have no connection with the prospects for the well itself, which remain as exciting as ever”.