Siccar Point Energy has started drilling an offshore exploration well at the Blackrock prospect in the UK, using one of the world’s largest semi-submersible drilling rigs, the Ocean GreatWhite.
Located 140 kilometers north-west of Shetland, the Blackrock license is located directly between the Rosebank and Cambo oil fields.
Siccar expects the drilling campaign to take approximately five months. The oil company will also drill the Lyon exploration prospect North of Shetland.
Siccar Point acquired its operated interest in the P.1830 license in 2017 by acquiring OMV UK Limited.
Shell UK Limited joined the current Blackrock license holders, Siccar Point and Suncor EnergyUK Limited, last year in a deal with Siccar Point which included a 30% non-operated interest in Cambo.
The Blackrock prospect targets multiple reservoirs similar to those underlying the neighboring Rosebank field, operated by Equinor.
If successful, Siccar said, it will add substantial resources as well as de-risk a portfolio of other exploration prospects in the region.
Jonathan Roger, CEO of Siccar Point said: “Blackrock is a high impact prospect within our Corona Ridge acreage and we are pleased to have progressed to the exploration drilling stage. We have a very exciting2019 in front of us with two material exploration wells to drill and progressing the Cambo development forward to project sanction.”Siccar Point will progress exploration drilling at the material Lyon gas prospect immediately following the Blackrock well.
As for the rig being used, owned by Diamond Offshore, the Ocean GreatWhite weighs in at 60,800 tonnes and is a 6th generation harsh environment drilling rig capable of drilling down to 10,000m in 3,000m of water.
The rig’s contract with Siccar Point started this month and is scheduled to be completed in mid-July this year. The contract is for three firm wells plus three option wells.
As one of its five themes that will dominate the market in 2019, Wood Mackenzie, an energy intelligence group, in January included the comeback of North Sea exploration.
According to WoodMac, exploration in the UK languished in 2018, with just eight wells drilled, the lowest number since the 1960s. However, in 2019, WoodMac expects the UK sector to see between 10-15 wells with Siccar Point’s Blackrock and Lyon wells in the West of Shetland being the ones to watch.