The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has given Shell extra time to carry out more “intensive” seismic processing on a southern North Sea exploration target, the major’s project partner said today.
Deltic Energy said Shell wanted more time to improve image resolution after “chalk” was identified on the seabed in the north of the seismic dataset.
London-listed Deltic said the chalk had “no material impact” on the reservoir, but that the project partners wanted to spend more time “de-risking” the Pensacola prospect.
It said the additional processing would “help refine the range of volumes and the exact well location” and was a “key enabler of Shell’s internal approval processes”.
The OGA has granted a short extension to the date by which the contingent well commitment becomes a firm well commitment until March 31, 2021.
Deltic said Shell had reiterated its plans to drill the high-impact prospect and that it remained on scheduled to be drilled in the fourth quarter of next year.
Well planning, including design work and rig scoping, has already begun.
Shell bought 70% of the licence containing Pensacola from Deltic, the new name for Cluff Natural Resources, and took over as operator last year.
Deltic chief executive Graham Swindells said: “I am very happy to report Shell’s continued commitment to explore for gas with us at the high impact Pensacola Prospect and that the well remains on track to be drilled in 2021.
“The additional time granted will allow final work to be completed to ensure we get the best placed, best designed well to test this prospect – our work has only increased our excitement for a North Sea play that is proven in many parts of Europe.
“Despite the challenging times, the rigorous technical work means Pensacola has moved into well design and planning, while at the same time we have recently been provisionally awarded a series of new licences including the drill-ready Cadence Prospect in order to continue executing our strategy of building a ‘conveyer belt’ of North Sea exploration opportunities.”