Just one UK sector well has spudded to date this year, while one re-spud is noted. In total six wells are currently active, split equally between exploration and appraisal, with one in the East Irish Sea, three West of Shetland, and the remaining two drilling in the Central North Sea.
Currently, 26 development and production wells, including sidetrack legs, are active, seven of these having started this year.
In total 38 rigs are currently in the sector, with 32 on development, production, exploration and appraisal duties, with the remaining six either stacked or awaiting a contract.
West of Shetland
WoS, BP is continuing its long-running Clair appraisal programme, the latest in this being currently active sidetrack well 206/9a-3Z using the Paul B. Loyd Jnr.
Total is continuing operations on its Spinnaker re-entry well 20/4a-3Re where the Sedco 714 is employed.
Meanwhile, Ithaca has re-spudded its Palaeocene Handcross exploration well 204/18b-2A (Stena Carron drillship), the prior well to this having been aborted after nine days, following its spud at the end of 2013.
Northern North Sea
The NNS is currently devoid of drilling activity since Taqa’s Cladhan appraisal well 210/29a-6 was suspended. The development sidetrack that was originally planned has been postponed. As a result the rig John Shaw, has gone to Denmark for a brief spell in port.
Central North Sea
In the CNS, Nexen has wrapped up operations with its Lily appraisal, sidetrack well 20/1-14Z abandoned mid-month by the Transocean Prospect following a two-leg programme that began at the end of November.
EnQuest is drilling ahead with its Cairngorm (Basement) sidetrack well 16/3d-16Z (Ocean Princess), while ConocoPhillips’ long-running well 30/2c-J12, a deviated appraisal into an adjoining block from the Jade platform, continues ahead (Maersk Resilient).
As reported last month, the Galaxy II remains in Dundee ahead of mobilising to drill GDF Suez’s Marconi prospect on block 30/1f.
The Southern North Sea is currently devoid of drilling activity, while the East Irish Sea has one active well with EOG’s 110/7b-9 targeting the Triassic “J” prospect (Ensco 80). Completion is expected by the end of this month.
The lack of activity on the UKCS reported at the end of the year seems to have been maintained into 2014, with just one official spud having started this year (the other being a re-spud of a 2013 well).
With relatively few wells in the immediate pipeline it looks like the start of 2014 for the UKCS will continue in the same lowly vein that’s troubled the sector for the past 12-18 months.
Norwegian activity remains buoyant
Currently, 12 wells are active on the NCS, ten of which are exploration, the remaining two being appraisal.
Eight of these E&A wells are drilling in the North Sea, while the Norwegian and Barents seas each have two wells apiece. To date, eight well spuds are noted this year, with no sidetracks, re-spuds or re-entries.
In total 16 development/production wells are currently drilling, with all of these located in the North Sea, bar one in the Norwegian Sea.
Currently there are 36 mobile units in the sector, with 12 on E&A duties, 16 on D&P drilling, seven mobilising between drilling operations and one in port awaiting the commencement of a new contract.
As is the norm, the North Sea sees the lion’s share of activity, with six spuds this year alone.
Operations on Wintershall’s Skafjell South sidetrack well 35/9-10 A (P&A gas) were wrapped-up by the Transocean Arctic mid-month.
Meanwhile Centrica’s Butch East Well 8/10-5 S continues with the jack-up Maersk Giant.
Total’s second Trell probe, well 25/5-9, continues (Leiv Eiriksson), while on the same quadrant, Statoil has kicked-off exploration well 25/9-4 (Ocean Vanguard), targeting a currently unreported objective.
In the Johan Sverdrup area Lundin is in the process of completing operations on its Torvastad exploration sidetrack well 16/2-20 A (COSL Innovator). Also, Lundin is drilling ahead with appraisal well 16/3-8 S (Bredford Dolphin).
Elsewhere, two wells are active on Quad 34, both operated by Statoil and both exploratory in nature, with one, well 34/8-17 S (COSL Pioneer) having spudded in January. The other, long-running well 34/10-54 S, is targeting the L. Jurassic Rav/Valemon North prospect having started in September (Transocean Leader).
Statoil also spudded exploration well 35/11-16 S (Songa Trym). The objective of this has yet to be ascertained, whilst Centrica’s early January spud on Butch South West with well 8/10-5 S is drilling ahead using the Maersk Giant.
Two wells are currently active in the Norwegian Sea, both of which are exploratory, with VNG targeting the Pil & Bue prospect with well 6406/12-3 S (Transocean Arctic), where a Jurassic objective is noted.
Meanwhile, Faroe continues ahead in its Jurassic Novus probe, well 6507/10-2 S, having spudded in November with West Navigator.
In the Barents, two wells are currently active. Statoil’s well 7220/4-1 (a December spud) is targeting the M. Jurassic Drivis/Kramsnø prospect with the West Hercules, while Det norske spudded mid-month an exploration probe on the Langlitinden prospect (Transocean Barents), targeting prospectivity in the Triassic.
Activity in the Norwegian sector is, so far, keeping (and even exceeding) pace with last year (a record for E&A spuds), with eight wells having started this year already.
At this rate, 2014 could become another record year, although with only a month having passed, this is rather early for speculation.
Provided this rate of exploration drilling in particular is maintained, a number of discoveries are expected to be reported within the coming month or two, and certainly by the end of the first quarter.
This report by Simon Robertshaw and David Moseley is courtesy of North Sea analyst Hannon Westwood