Statoil sets in motion UK exploration drilling campaign

Transocean Spitsbergen

Norwegian oil firm Statoil will soon start a three-well exploration drilling campaign on the UK continental shelf.

In early July, the semi-submersible rig Transocean Spitsbergen will spud the first well in the campaign, the oil company said on Monday. The rig has recently mobilized from Bergen, Norway.

Statoil picked the Transocean rig for the three UK wells and for a six-well production drilling campaign on the Aasta Hansteen license back in April this year.

“This is an exciting campaign testing three very different opportunities on the UKCS. We hope to make discoveries that can add value to existing projects and also provide the resources necessary for new developments on the UKCS,” says Jenny Morris, vice president Exploration, UK.

The wells will be drilled in a continuous campaign that is expected to last approximately 2-3 months. The first well, Mariner Segment 9, could prove additional resources and increase the extent of the Mariner Field, Statoil noted.

Segment 9 partners are Statoil with 65.1111% interest, JX Nippon with 20%, Siccar Point Energy with 8.889%, and Dyas with the remaining 6% interest.

After completing the well, expected to take between 15 and 25 days, the rig will move to Jock Scott, a prospect on the underexplored margins of the Viking Graben. This well is expected to be completed in 20-40 days. Partners in this prospect are Statoil with 75% interest and BP Exploration Operating Company with 25% stake.

The last well of the campaign will be the Verbier opportunity in the Moray Firth area. The well is assumed to take 30-70 days to complete.

“We have three exciting wells to test with a proven and efficient rig that will enable us to continue to develop our understanding of the full exploration potential of this mature basin and hopefully add new commercial reserves to our UK portfolio,” says Morris.

Verbier partners are Statoil (70%), Jersey Oil and Gas (18%), and CIECO Exploration and Production (UK) (12%).

Jersey O&G said on Monday that the Verbier well is anticipated to spud during August 2017, with plans to drill a possible sidetrack well contingent on results.

Jersey also said that Statoil will fund all costs up to $25 million in respect of the Verbier well, in addition to which JOG benefits from a further carry of 10 percent from its co-venturer CIECO.

Andrew Benitz, CEO of Jersey Oil & Gas, commented: “The drilling of a well to test the Verbier prospect is the culmination of a great deal of technical work and operational planning by the Verbier joint venture partnership, and we are grateful for the support received from our shareholders during this time.”

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