The number of mobile rigs active on UKCS E&A drilling remains at 10 units, with one platform-based appraisal also ongoing.
Four new spuds in the last month bring the number of well starts this year to 35. Seven further sidetracks, mostly appraisal, have boosted the sidetrack total to 29.
In the Central North Sea, Petro-Canada continues its three-well Moray Firth programme, spudding Nutmeg 12/24-4 less than three miles north-east of Surprise appraisal 12/25-3, which was P&A (plugged and abandoned) after 24 days. Nippon’s Bowmore appraisal, 15/24a-9, was abandoned after 72 days, including 12 at TD, sufficient for a drill-stem test, although no statement has yet been issued. Nexen spudded Hobby North appraisal 20/1-11 immediately after suspending Hobby South appraisal well 20/1-10Y, 25 days in second sidetrack. The latest well on the NW-SE trending structure is four miles from 20/1-10Y.
Talisman abandoned Shaw sidetrack appraisal leg 22/22a-7Z on the Jurassic discovery after 58 days, including 33 at TD, before initiating a third leg, -7Y. The operator has also re-entered well 16/22-9 to appraise Burghley in a third sidetrack utilising the rig, Ocean Princess. On block 29/8a, Venture is drilling well 29/8a-6 to appraise the northern part of the Triassic Acorn discovery.
West of Shetland, operations are ongoing in Hurricane’s Lancaster appraisal well 205/21a-4, targeting fractured basement. DONG’s Glenlivet well 214/30a-2 encountered gas-filled Palaeocene reservoir and a successful appraisal sidetrack confirmed the lateral extent with better than prognosed results. A second appraisal sidetrack will spud shortly.
Operations have been suspended on Chevron’s Palaeocene Rosebank appraisal well 213/27-4X after 13 days in the third sidetrack, the Stena Carron drillship mobilising to spud OMV’s Tornado exploration well 204/13a-1 on September 29.
Total remains the sole operator in the Northern North Sea, kicking-off mechanical sidetrack 3/9a-N52Z from the North Alwyn platform on September 22. Meantime, the operator’s Balvenie exploration well 3/14d-18 is still drilling.
In the Southern North Sea, Venture sidetracked 48/10a-15, an appraisal infill on the Permian Rotliegendes Annabel East structure. It is the only non-development well drilling in the sector.
E&A activity in the East Irish Sea is temporarily on hold while the Ensco 92 drills BHP’s Lennox field well 110/15-L14, but will restart activity once this single development well has been completed.
The relative surge of activity seen in July and through August tailed off through September, in part due to long-running wells, with much of the activity centring on appraisal sidetracks. 2009 drilling levels have, however, now exceeded, by one, the total for 2003, when 34 wells were spudded.
Q1 2009, excluding sidetracks, saw seven wells spudded, Q2 saw 12 starts and Q3 16 spuds. Should the upward trend continue, anywhere between 10 and 20 E&A wells identified from Hannon Westwood’s pool of 184 planned wells may see the drillbit before year-end, bringing the 2004 total of 47 E&A wells within sight. However, rig rates could determine the outcome.
Simon Robertshaw’s column is courtesy of drilling analysts Hannon Westwood LLP