The UK arm of Abu Dhabi national energy company TAQA has announced a drilling campaign in the northern North Sea.
TAQA Bratani said yesterday it had secured the Stena Spey rig on a seven-month, multimillion-pound contract starting in March.
The rig is to drill an exploration well north of the Tern field. The company would not say what exactly was being targeted. The other drilling will be of new wells in the Pelican field.
TAQA Bratani managing director Leo Koot said: “TAQA delivers on our promises. As new operators in the North Sea in 2009, TAQA was determined to build our assets and increase hydrocarbon recovery.
“This contract steps up our investment in developing indigenous North Sea resources for the UK and follows the November 2009 announcement of our first new producing well on the North Cormorant field.
“TAQA intends to spend around $750million (£460million) on the UK continental shelf throughout 2010. We are ideally placed to generate success in the North Sea: we have the energy, the expertise and the financial strength from a diverse global portfolio to ensure we can fund and manage long-term projects even in times of economic unease.”
West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Sir Robert Smith said: “This is very welcome news and a boost to the North Sea at what is still a difficult time. Drilling activity is vital to ensuring future job prospects as well as energy security. Without further discoveries and well development, the UK would lose out on the full potential the North Sea has to offer. TAQA’s commitment will help to deliver that potential.”
TAQA’s planned programme of activity for this year also includes platform drilling campaigns on the North Cormorant and Tern installations.
TAQA completed its £420million acquisition of interests in seven oil fields from Shell UK and Esso Exploration and Production (UK) in December 2008.
The deal included 100% and operatorship of the Tern, Kestrel, Eider, North Cormorant, South Cormorant and Pelican fields. It also took in a 26.73% stake in the Dana-operated Hudson field, plus a 16% interest in the Brent pipeline system and a 24% interest in the Sullom Voe oil terminal.
TAQA Bratani, which has its headquarters at Westhill, near Aberdeen, employs about 800 people directly and indirectly.
Mobil North Sea confirmed yesterday that fresh drilling had started at the Beryl field in the northern North Sea to boost production.
The plan is to drill three wells from the Beryl Alpha platform and two on Beryl Bravo.
The project is costing about £145million and will increase the workforce by more than 80 people.
Beryl has been one of the biggest success stories in the history of the North Sea, the area having produced more than one billion barrels of oil and gas to date.