Apache and partner Chrysaor have started drilling an exploration well in the UK North Sea.
The Solar well — number 9/18e-42 in licence P2335 — was spudded on Tuesday, according to the Oil and Gas Authority’s wellbore portal.
Diamond Offshore’s semi-submersible Ocean Patriot rig is being used to drill the well in the Beryl area, about 180 miles north-east of Aberdeen.
Private-equity backed Chrysaor bought into the relevant acreage earlier this year when it snapped up 39.5% non-operated stakes in four licences from Apache.
Chrysaor also raised its existing interest in a fifth licence to 39.5%, from 22.78% previously, as part of the agreement.
Chrysaor has agreed to fund the exploration well on Solar, which chief executive Phil Kirk described as “eagerly awaited”.
He would not reveal the pre-drill estimates, but did say Aker BP had enjoyed a couple of successes on the same “play” in Norway.
And Mr Mr Kirk said “another couple” of exploration targets in the licences shared with Apache could be drilled.