EnCore Oil said yesterday that a substantial column of good-quality oil had been discovered by its Burgman well in the UK central North Sea.
The joint-venture partnership has now decided to drill an immediate sidetrack.
EnCore said the well encountered 12 feet of gas in the Upper Tay sandstones and 10ft of medium-gravity oil in the Lower Tay sandstones. These accumulations were found within a gross gas column of at least 78ft and oil column of about 420ft.
Burgman is in block 28/9, which contains the Catcher and Varadero discoveries.
Chief executive Alan Booth said of the latest find: “This well has proved up a substantial column of good- quality oil in the Burgman structure.
“The presence of 24 degree API oil suggests that the oil quality in the licence does not significantly degrade as we test increasingly shallower prospectivity, which is great news for a number of the undrilled prospects on the licence.
“This short sidetrack should, we believe, confirm thicker Lower Tay sands and help us further delineate what could be another important, good-quality oil discovery in block 28/9.
“Following these results, EnCore is keen to return to the block to test the Carnaby, Rapide/West Varadero and Bonneville prospects.
“EnCore is now looking forward both to the result of the Burgman sidetrack and to our important Cladhan appraisal well currently drilling on UK continental shelf northern North Sea Block 210/30a, the initial results of which are expected in the coming weeks.”
The partners in block 28/9 are: operator EnCore (15%), Premier Oil (35%), Wintershall (UK North Sea) (20%), Nautical Petroleum (15%) and Agora Oil and Gas (15%). Earlier this month, EnCore revealed it could set up a new company for its exploration assets, which include eight North Sea blocks.
The UK-focused exploration and production company would then float the new firm on the stock market.
Mr Booth told the Press and Journal the new company could be set up this year.
EnCore has a 16.6% stake in the Cladhan find in the northern North Sea.
The Press and Journal reported last October that it could contain more than 300million barrels of oil.
EnCore owns 15% of Catcher, which is about 110 miles east of Aberdeen.
Premier Oil, which has a 35% stake in Catcher, said last month it estimated overall reserves for the find at 40-80million barrels of oil.