North Sea explorer i3 Energy is on the cusp of what it hopes will be a “game changing” drilling campaign.
Chief executive Majid Shafiq said the programme could “transform” i3 into one of the “more significant oil producers” in the UK.
The Borgland Dolphin rig will drill a pilot production well on the Liberator field in the outer Moray Firth, along with appraisal wells on the Liberator West extension and the nearby Serenity prospect.
The 94-day campaign is expected to start in July or August.
The company, based in Westhill, Aberdeenshire, believes its portfolio of wholly-owned assets is capable of producing about 200 million barrels of oil equivalent.
It plans to develop Liberator as a subsea tieback to the Bleo Holm vessel, which is on lease to Repsol Sinopec Resources UK. First oil is slated for 2020.
Launched in 2014, the firm is named i3 because its directors were formerly involved with other North Sea companies starting with the letter “i” – Ithaca Energy and Iona Energy.
Co-founder Neill Carson stepped down from the chief executive role last year, making way for Mr Shafiq.
Mr Carson is now a non-executive director at the firm, which reported operating losses of £2.37 million in 2018.
It raised £16m through a share placing earlier this year to help pay for the drilling work.
The company has been repeatedly frustrated in its efforts to find a partner who would cover some of the costs.