Nautical Petroleum said yesterday the next drilling on its Kraken prospect south-east of Shetland would take place this summer.
The Aim-listed explorer said drilling would be carried out by Diamond Offshore’s Ocean Nomad semisubmersible rig and the programme would consist of an appraisal well and an exploration well, plus testing.
SPD, part of Petrofac Productions Solutions, will manage the campaign from its offices in Aberdeen.
The appraisal well will assess the southern extent of the existing hydrocarbon accumulation confirmed by the successful 9/2-1A and 9/2b-2 wells.
An exploration well, to the west of the appraisal well, will investigate three potential reservoirs, targeting gross best-estimate prospective resources of 114million barrels in two of the reservoirs.
Nautical, which focuses on the development of heavy-oil assets in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, added that, in anticipation of a successful result from the appraisal well, development planning and concept selection studies were already under way, with the aim of submitting a field-development plan by the end of the year.
First oil is anticipated by the end of 2012.
The group said field partner Canamens Energy North Sea, which has a 35% stake, would not participate in the drilling, and as a consequence its other joint-venture partner Celtic Oil would fund its 30% interest and operator Nautical 70%: effectively carrying Canamens’ costs.
The agreement between the partners gives Canamens the opportunity to participate in the development following the completion of drilling, subject to refunding Nautical’s additional costs and paying it a financial uplift. Nautical chief executive Steve Jenkins said: “We’re very pleased to have secured the Ocean Nomad.
“Our considerable study work over the past six months has significantly improved the understanding of the sub-surface. We are confident that we can now predict the reservoir distribution and hydrocarbon extent with more certainty.
“The signing of the rig agreement ensures that drilling will occur over the more benign summer weather window and that the development schedule remains on track.
“Nautical’s positive action reflects the technical confidence we have in the well location and our desire to proceed aggressively to afford our shareholders the opportunity to realise the significant value success in this activity will deliver.”