Oil and gas operator Oilexco has announced a “significant” discovery in UK waters.
The oil and gas-condensate find, revealed yesterday, is in the Moth field in the central North Sea.
Shares in Oilexco – which has a 50% stake in the find -.jumped more than 12% on the news before finishing the day up about 7.3% at 909p.
The company said the discovery well was drilled to 14,616ft. Hydrocarbon-bearing reservoir sands with a thickness of 605ft were intersected in the Middle Jurassic Pentland and a further 219ft were intersected in the Upper Jurassic Fulmar.
No estimate of the possible size of Moth was given, but one analyst said later it could contain about 50million barrels and this figure could rise. Oilexco said future appraisal wells would likely use higher-capacity testing equipment to determine maximum achievable flow rates.
BG Group, Hess and BP also have stakes in Moth.
Oilexco said the partners would now put together a programme for development of the discovery.
Chief executive Arthur Millholland said: “Oilexco remains the most active driller in the UK North Sea and we continue to achieve significant results from our exploration programme, with Moth being the second major discovery to be made by the company in the last year.
“We believe the Moth field has the potential to be very material to Oilexco, and look forward to the test results from the primary zone.”
In March, Oilexco – which focuses on the UK North Sea – promised to step up exploration, appraisal and development spending this year with a budget of more than £350million planned.
Oilexco said it would drill at least five production wells targeting the recently acquired Balmoral area to release stranded assets, and a further two production wells on the Shelley field.
The Canadian company also said it would carry out appraisal drilling this year on the Huntington discovery.
It added that it was working on development solutions for Huntington, with a view to first oil late next year or early in 2010.
Additional exploration targets had been identified by Oilexco, with wells scheduled this year on the Delta, Shelley North and Manhattan prospects.
In April, Oilexco announced the £12.6million acquisition of Svenska Petroleum Exploration UK.
The deal gave Oilexco a 1.66% interest in the Nelson field and platform, a 6.45% interest in the Janice and James fields and floating production vessel, plus a 40% working interest in block 30/23b south-east of Janice.