Elaine Maslin, 8th June 2012
Ithaca Energy said yesterday initial flow rates on its Athena development were nearly 22,000 barrels of oil per (bopd) day – doubling its own daily production figures.
Before Athena, in the Outer Moray Firth, came on stream, the Aberdeen firm’s production was about 5,000 bopd.
With Athena, 22.5% owned by Ithaca, its production will now be close to 10,000 bopd.
Ithaca said: “At current oil prices, the project is anticipated to achieve payback within 12 months.”
The announcement saw Ithaca’s shares rise nearly 6% on the AIM after the firm took a hit last month following the ending of talks over a potential takeover of the firm.
Chief development officer John Woods said: “The successful start-up of all the Athena wells and completion of commissioning activities on the floating production vessel mark major milestones for both the Athena development and the continued growth of the company.
“Completion of the Athena project again demonstrates the company’s ability to deliver major North Sea projects.”
An initial cargo of oil has already been offloaded from floating production vessel BW Athena to a tanker. The cargo, and future cargoes, are to be transferred to Ithaca’s Nigg terminal.
The firm’s next project, the £630million central North Sea Greater Stella Area development, to be developed through a partnership with Petrofac using another floating production vessel, would again double the firm’s production.
It is due on stream in the second half of next year.
Ithaca is also due to drill an exploration well on the central North Sea Hurricane prospect in the current quarter using the WilHunter semi-submersible rig.
The other partners in the Athena field are Dyas UK, with 47.5%, EWE Energie, with 20%, and Zeus Petroleum, with 10%.