Westwood Global Energy reports that as of September 30 there was one exploration well active in the UK. So far in 2020, four exploration wells have completed. There has been no appraisal drilling to date this year.
West of Shetland
The last well to complete in the region was Hurricane’s Warwick West 204/30b-4 appraisal well on December 13. No further drilling is expected this year, with Hurricane having been granted a licence extension to drill an appraisal well on the Lincoln structure, as well as having an extension suspended 205/26b-14 Lincoln well that was drilled in 2019.
Northern North Sea
As previously reported, Apache spudded the 9/18a-43 Gair exploration well on May 30 with the Ocean Patriot and then sidetracked the well on July 4 as 9/18a-43Z, operations on which then completed on July 26, 58 days after spudding. The well was targeting a middle jurassic reservoir and in the event of success was planned to be developed via the nearby Beryl field infrastructure. Westwood understands that the well encountered hydrocarbons. It was plugged and abandoned, however, rather than completed for development purposes which was the pre-drill intention in the event of success. Consequently, it is expected that the well made a non-commercial discovery.
Apache then moved the Ocean Patriot rig to spud the 9/19b-28 Gamma/Losgann exploration well on July 29. The well was re-spudded, presumably for mechanical reasons, on August 7. The well was then sidetracked on September 2 but
encountered conductor issues so the well was re-spudded again as 9/19b-29 on September 14. Operations on this well continue.
The well programme is targeting Eocene injectites at a location between Apache’s Storr field and the UK/Norway median line. It lies close to the 2008 9/19-16 Gamma oil discovery which is part of the same sand injectite complex in this region and in the event of success, a discovery will likely be tied back to the Beryl field infrastructure.
Central North Sea
Total’s 12/30-2 Finzean exploration well in the Moray Firth spudded on September 2 with the Noble Sam Turner jack-up rig. The well was targeting prospects in the lower cretaceous and upper jurassic and was expected to take 30 days in a dry hole case. The well was abandoned and the rig moved off location on September 27, some 26 days after spud. A result from the well has not yet been announced but based on a total duration that was less than that predicted in the dry hole case, it would seem that the well failed to make a commercial discovery. The target consisted of stacked punt sandstone member (Finzean), burns sandstone member (Ferrick) and ettrick sandstone member (Ulysses), similar to that seen in the Golden Eagle field, in a combination stratigraphic and structural trap. The well was drilled 25km south of the Captain field.
Southern North Sea
The last well to complete in the region was Eni’s 53/14a-2 Aspen exploration well on December 11 which was abandoned as a dry hole. No further exploration drilling is expected in the Gas Basin this year.