Oil and gas explorer Serica Energy said yesterday it expected to get the go-ahead later this year for developing the North Sea Columbus gas-condensate field.
Serica is the operator of Columbus and holds a 50% stake in the licence with partners Endeavour (25%) and EOG (25%).
The block 23/16f asset covers about 20 square miles of the central North Sea and was awarded to Serica and its partners in 2005.
Announcing first-quarter results yesterday, Serica said a revised field-development programme for production from Columbus would be submitted to the UK Government, with approval expected later this year.
Serica’s first-quarter results showed pre-tax losses of £1.06million, against a deficit of £6.88million.
Sales revenue for the latest period totalled £3.69million. There was no revenue during the first quarter of 2009.
Chief executive Paul Ellis said: “The focus in the first quarter was on preparing for the company’s 2010 exploration drilling programme and actively managing our portfolio to mitigate risk.
“Wells still to be drilled in the North Sea and Indonesia this year have the potential to deliver significant value to shareholders.”
Serica holds licences in the central and southern North Sea and east Irish Sea.
To date, it has participated in the drilling of six wells offshore UK, all of which found hydrocarbons. Three were gas discoveries and the rest were appraisal wells to these finds.
Serica also has a portfolio of prospective exploration acreage in the North Sea and east Irish Sea, with plans to drill further exploration wells in these areas.
The Alternative Investment Market-listed company has operations in the UK North Sea, Ireland, Spain, Morocco and Indonesia.
Meanwhile, Stratic Energy, which has interests in the North Sea, Morocco, Slovenia and Turkey, reported first-quarter oil sales revenue of £2.97million from continuing operations in the UK, boosted by the start of production from the West Don field in April 2009.
Overall, net losses at the group widened to £7.46million during the first three months of 2010 from £4.71million a year earlier.