Oil firm i3 Energy said yesterday that it had taken another “key step” on the way to developing the Liberator field.
I3 said studies to figure out how Liberator can be tied back to the Blake field and the Bleo Holm vessel were under way.
The firm, led by a co-founder of Ithaca Energy, said Blake-field-operator Repsol Sinopec Resources UK was carrying out the engineering studies.
The results of the study will help i3 draw up a field development plan (FDP) for Liberator.
The company said an environmental statement is currently being prepared alongside the FDP and would be published “shortly”.
Its shares were up 5.08% to 31p on the London Stock Exchange as of 1pm today.
London-based i3 bought a 100% operated working interest in Liberator from Dana Petroleum in December 2016. The field is located in the outer Moray Firth.
I3 commercial manager Martyn Eames said: “I’m very encouraged that we have reached agreement with the operator and owners of the Blake Field to progress the host-specific technical studies.
“The integration of Liberator into the existing Blake infrastructure will provide the opportunity for both operational and commercial synergies to be realised.
“The timing of this engineering work and ongoing cooperation will ensure readiness for the next operational stage of the project and as such we remain on track for drilling operations and subsea tie-in activities in 2018.”
The firm, which was founded in 2014, is named i3 because its directors were formerly involved with other North Sea companies starting with the letter “i” – Ithaca Energy and Iona Energy.
Neill Carson, chief executive of i3, was instrumental in the founding of Ithaca, as well as Iona Energy.
Graham Heath, who worked with Mr Carson at Iona for four years, is chief financial officer at i3.
Aberdeen-headquartered Ithaca agreed to a £1billion takeover by Israel’s Delek Group earlier this year.
Iona went into administration early in 2016 after failing to restructure its finances.