Spirit Energy has started drilling a well at the Andromeda North prospect in the Southern North Sea (SNS).
The prospect, targeting 40billion cubic feet of gas, is Spirit’s first operated exploration well in the UK North Sea, with a 55% interest.
Hague and London Oil (Halo), which has the remaining 45% stake, said in an announcement that the prospect in the Greater Pegasus Area would take around 90 days to drill.
The firms are seeking to find out how Andromeda may link to the nearby Pegasus discovery, which has an estimated 14.5million recoverable barrels of oil equivalent.
A Spirit Energy spokesman said: “Andromeda North is Spirit Energy’s first operated exploration well on the UKCS since we formed, and is part of a busy drilling campaign across our portfolio this year.
“Our focus is on a safe campaign and following spudding of the well we look forward to finding out how this prospect relates to our nearby Pegasus discovery.”
Halo also noted the recently-opened dispute between Spirit Energy and Neptune Energy on whether the Pegasus West development could be tied-back to the Neptune-operated Cygnus platform.
The disagreement has led to Spirit Energy delaying sanctioning of Pegasus West, which Halo owns a 45% stake in.
Halo said it will provide further updates as the investigation progresses, as well as any potential alternatives for developing the Pegasus field.
Elsewhere the firm has been given an extension to its licence in the Dutch North Sea for the Maple discovery until the start of 2021, containing between 20-50billion cubic feet of gas.
Andrew Cochran, Halo’s chairman and interim chief executive said: “Halo is very pleased to announce the drilling of Andromeda North, particularly as this is our first well on the UK Continental Shelf.
“While the previous Pegasus West only development plan is being reviewed, the Andromeda North well demonstrates progress within, and commitment to, the Greater Pegasus Area overall.
“Additionally, the Company is beginning to plan for a broader drilling campaign in the Southern North Sea in 2020, with Maple being the initial target having had the license extended after our additional work last year.”