Independent Oil and Gas (IOG) will hand out the contract for a jackup rig for the first phase of its flagship Core project “in the coming weeks”.
IOG said the “substantial contract” for phase 1 of Core will involve a five-well development drilling programme, beginning in the first half of 2021.
Earlier this year, shortly after the oil price crash, IOG chief operating officer Mark Hughes said the firm recognised the stress on the supply chain and would not go “into a pit of lowest price bidding” over the jackup rig contract.
Petrofac has already been awarded the well operator deal for an undisclosed fee.
“Core” is a development comprised of six fields in the Southern North Sea containing 410 billion cubic feet of gas, which will be transported onshore via the Thames pipeline.
In a stock exchange announcement on Thursday, IOG also said that platform design and engineering work is well underway, with installation set for the first half of next year.
Dutch contractor HSM Offshore will install the two normally unmanned platforms at Blythe and Southwark – parts of phase 1 of Core – after winning the deal in August.
Meanwhile the installation deal for the subsea, umbilicals, risers and flowlines went to Subsea 7 in May.
IOG made the announcements while reporting its first-half results, which saw the firm report pre-tax losses of £3.6m as it prepares for first production from Core.
Chief executiive Andrew Hockey said: “The first half of 2020 was an important period of development progress for IOG, in which we advanced all critical Phase 1 workstreams while navigating the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Besides signing major contracts with leading contractors and consolidating our strong partnership with CalEnergy Resources, we secured clear government endorsement for Phase 1.
“We also continued to invest in the organisation itself, adding several high-quality new hires to help safely and successfully execute Phase 1 and progress the valuable upside opportunities in our sights.”