Azinor Catalyst said today that the Transocean Leader rig had been mobilised for its North Sea drilling campaign.
The vessel will drill an exploration well on Plantain followed by a sidetrack well to appraise the Agar field.
Azinor said the job would cost £11.7 million gross.
Agar and Plantain are thought to contain 60 million barrels oil equivalent (boe), with an upside case of 98m boe.
Last week, Faroe Petroleum said it would take a 25% interest in the sole risk drilling activity on Agar-Plantain, and 12.5% of the wider P1763 licence.
Apache owns and operates the licence with a 50% share and Cairn Energy has 25%. Once the latest farm-in deal goes through, Azinor will have 12.5% and Faroe will have 12.5%.
Azinor managing director Nick Terrell said: “We are delighted to have mobilised the Transocean Leader as we rapidly approach drilling, and we welcome Faroe onto the licence.
“Given Faroe’s strategy of being highly selective on the UKCS their participation in this well and entry onto the licence is a strong endorsement of Catalyst as an operator, the technical work we have completed to date, and the significant potential of the prospect.
“We look forward to working with our partners as we progress operations at Agar Plantain.”
Azinor technical director Henry Morris said: “It’s great to start the drilling operations on Agar Plantain, the opportunity has received significant industry support, and now it is up to the drill bit to test our understanding of the seismic and the subsurface.
“In a similar vein, we’re progressing well with the 2019 drilling campaign. The three prospects (Goose, Boaz and Hinson) are of an equal high quality to Agar Plantain and in plays/reservoir types which are under-explored and have to date proven to have delivered commercial size opportunities to the market.
“It’s an exciting time, low rig rates, big opportunities, good fiscals and a market which is stepping up to replenish their dwindling stock piles.”