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Monthly update on North Sea exploration: Three UK wells active

The Island Innovator rig drilled Cnooc's Howick exploration well west of Shetland
The Island Innovator rig drilled Cnooc's Howick exploration well west of Shetland

At the end of September there were three active exploration wells and four appraisal wells being drilled in the UK, according to Westwood Global Energy. Two E&A wells were spudded and three were completed during September.

West of Shetland

Total’s 206/4a-5 Glendronach appraisal well was sidetracked for mechanical reasons on August 28. The well programme is appraising pre-drill resources of 1 tcf gas in the Lower Cretaceous and is being drilled with the Ocean Valiant rig.

Operations continue with CNOOC’s 208/17a-4 Cragganmore appraisal well which was spudded on July 19 and is appraising an estimated 500 bcf (83 mmboe) in Paleocene T22 Vaila sandstones within a combined structural and stratigraphic trap.

CNOOC spudded its 206/21-1 Howick exploration well on August 31 with the Island Innovator rig. The well is targeting oil in the Cretaceous within a four-way dip closed structure with fault seal required for the upside and has an estimated duration in the region of 60 days.

Hurricane suspended its Lincoln Crestal appraisal well 205/26b-14 on September 19 having successfully flowed oil at a rate of up to 9,800 bopd from the target fractured basement reservoir. The Transocean Leader rig then mobilised and spudded the operator’s Warwick West appraisal well on September 24 where it is targeting the same reservoir.

This is the third and final well in this drilling campaign for Hurricane and Spirit Energy.

Northern North Sea

There is no current drilling in the Northern North Sea.

Central North Sea

On September 18, i3 Energy completed operations at its 13/23c-9 Liberator appraisal well with the Borgland Dolphin semi-submersible. The well failed to find hydrocarbons in the Lower Cretaceous and has been abandoned as a dry hole. Rather than move to drill the second Liberator area appraisal well, i3 is now planning to drill an exploration well on the Serenity prospect which will be the second rather than third well in the Greater Liberator Area drilling campaign.

Equinor spudded exploration well 22/10b-9 on September 23 and then re-spudded the well as 22/10b-9A on September 25 using the West Phoenix semi-submersible. The well is targeting the Upper Jurassic cross median line Lifjellet prospect and is a firm commitment on this 30th Round licence.

Southern North Sea

Operations at One-Dyas’s 42/4-1Z Darach exploration well were completed on August 30 after being sidetracked on July 8 using the Valaris 121.

A result has not been announced, but permission for an extended well test was sought from the OGA and so it could be assumed that hydrocarbons have been discovered.

Independent Oil and Gas announced on August 11 that its 48/24b-6 Harvey appraisal well has encountered a 49ft (15m) gas column in the target Rotliegend Leman sandstone reservoir. The well was abandoned on September 19.

Operations are ongoing with Spirit Energy’s 43/12a-3 Andromeda North exploration well, which was spudded on July 29 with the Noble Hans Deul jack-up rig.
Hague and London Oil reported pre-drill resource estimates of c. 40 bcf in the Carboniferous.

Premier is continuing to drill its 42/28d-14 Tolmount East appraisal well with the Valaris 123 jack-up, following its spud on August 8.

The well is targeting 300 bcf in the Rotliegend as an extension of the Tolmount Main field.

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