As of 27 January, Westwood Global Energy reports that there are three exploration wells active, with one in the NNS, one in the CNS and one in the SNS. Since the previous report, one well has completed at North Eigg and one appraisal well completed at Isabella.
West of Shetland
No E&A wells have been drilled in the WoS area since the 206/21-1 Howick well in 2019. Two wells are planned to be drilled in 2023.
Northern North Sea
The 3/9a-N59 Alwyn East well, operated by TotalEnergies, was spudded on 16 January 2023 as an extended reach well from the Alwyn North platform. The reservoir target is Middle Jurassic Brent Group sandstones in a rotated fault terrace downthrown to the NE of the Alwyn North field. The well is classed as high temperature (HT) not high pressure (HP). Pre-drill P10 resources are c. 215 bcf gas or 26 mmbbl oil, however, this is unlikely to be recovered due to the expected CoP for the field prior to attaining these volumes.
The Serica-operated 3/24c-6 North Eigg HPHT well has been suspended with a completion that allows for a re-entry at a later date. The rig moved off location on 17 January. The well was spudded with the Paul B Lloyd Jr semi-sub on 11 July, re-spudded on 19 July and on 9 August due to operational issues. The well encountered 16ft (5m) of hydrocarbon bearing sand in the Upper Jurassic Heather Formation. Commerciality is yet to be established, with reservoir thickness significantly thinner than prognosed.
Central North Sea
Operator TotalEnergies completed the 30/12d-12 Isabella appraisal well, with the Noble Sam Hartley jack-up rig leaving location on 26 January, after spudding on 1 September 2022. Ithaca Energy had reported indications of hydrocarbons present across a net reservoir thickness of 148ft (45m) through the Upper Jurassic and Triassic. The well results were not positive and below expectations, indicating that a reduction in resources from the Ithaca pre-drill 66 mmboe will be necessary.
The Shell-operated 22/8a Orlov HPHT exploration well was spudded on 14 August with the Valaris 122 jack-up rig, targeting Upper Jurassic Fulmar sandstones in a structural trap in interpod play setting. It is rumoured that the well has made a discovery and that a DST is being carried out.
Southern North Sea
The Shell-operated 42/5a-2 Pensacola well spudded on 21 November with the Noble Resilient jack-up rig. Pensacola is a frontier, and therefore high impact well, targeting Permian Zechstein Group Z2 reef build-ups in a complex combination trap. Pre-drill P90-P50-P10 resources are estimated at 39 – 309 – 1,181 bcf. Gas was encountered in the Zechstein and DST operations have been initiated with a planned duration of 30 days.