North Sea exploration and production firm Jersey Oil and Gas said today that the drilling of an appraisal well on the Verbier discovery had been delayed.
Drilling on Verbier, which is thought to contain 25-130million barrels of oil, was expected to take place in the outer Moray Firth this summer.
But Jersey has now been informed by licence-operator Equinor that the West Phoenix rig will drill two other wells before moving onto Verbier.
The Verbier appraisal well is now expected to be drilled in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Jersey, which has an 18% stake in the licence containing Verbier, said the delay was unlikely to result in any changes to the budget for the well.
But shares in the company dropped 11.48% to £1.85 in London in early trading.
Norwegian energy giant Equinor holds 70% of Verbier, while Cieco is on 12%.
Equinor said in March that it had booked West Phoenix to drill Verbier, along with the Pip prospect, about 100 miles north-east of Aberdeen, and the Bigfoot prospect, 20 miles south of the Mariner field.
Equinor, the new name for Statoil, holds the operatorship and 50% of Pip and Bigfoot. BP has the remaining 50%.
Jersey said today that Verbier will now likely be the third well in the sequence, as opposed to the first.
Jersey chief executive Andrew Benitz said: “We look forward to drilling the Verbier appraisal well within our previously advised capex guidance using the sixth generation semi-submersible rig West Phoenix, which is designed for drilling in harsh climatic environments.”
Exploration of Verbier brought the project partners mixed results last year. Jersey’s shares plummeted in September after the company revealed an exploration well on the field had ended in disappointment.
But a week later the company said it hadn’t given up hope for the prospect and that a sidetrack exploration well would be drilled.
The sidetrack well paid off, as it indicated the presence of commercial reserves.