Westwood Global Energy reports that as of 24 January there were two exploration wells active in the UK.
At year end, four exploration and four appraisal wells had completed, with a further two exploration wells that were active at the close of 2021 and will be considered as 2022 wells for statistical purposes. This compares to five exploration and no appraisal wells completed in 2020. Five exploration and two appraisal wells spudded in 2021.
West of Shetland
No E&A wells have been drilled in the WoS area since the 206/21-1 Howick well in 2019 and there are no wells planned to be drilled in 2022 at this time.
Northern North Sea
There has been no E&A drilling in the Northern North Sea in 2021. The last well in this area, the 9/19b Gamma/Losgann well, was completed in December 2020. The next exploration well in the region is expected to be on TotalEnergies’ Alwyn East prospect in end Q1 2022.
Central North Sea
Shell spudded the 22/12d-13 Jaws well on 28 November with the Valaris 122 jack-up rig. The well is a firm commitment on a 30th Round award, targeting an Upper Jurassic Fulmar Formation interpod play. The well has a predicted dry hole duration of 98 days. JV partner Cairn acquired its 50% non-operated interest in P2380 through a licence swap with Shell, with Shell receiving a 50% non-operated interest in the adjacent licence P2379 in return. In the success case, a discovery will be developed as a subsea tie-back to the Shell-operated Nelson platform, 16.5 km to the NW.
Operator Chrysaor (Harbour Energy) spudded the 30/8-4 Dunnottar exploration well on 17 October with the Valaris 121 jack-up rig. The well was a commitment for a 30th Round award and was primarily targeting a HPHT Triassic Skagerrak Formation tilted fault block structure. The well encountered hydrocarbon volumes in all the Paleocene, Jurassic and Triassic primary and secondary targets, however the commerciality of the discovery is under review, having been quoted as being marginal. The well is still in the process of being completed. If commerciality is confirmed, the J-block hub provides the most likely tie-back candidate.
In the Central North Sea, Harbour Energy (Chrysaor) spudded the 30/2c-J13 Jade South exploration well on 10 August which is being drilled from the Jade South NUI (Normally Unattended Installation) with the Ensco 120 jack-up. The well was deviated to the south into block 30/7b and targeted a HPHT Triassic Joanne Member sandstone in an untested fault block. The well was successful, encountering hydrocarbons in the target formation. A completion date of 1 December 2021 has been assumed by Westwood and the well has been tied into the Jade field infrastructure, with first production in early January 2022.
CNOOC’s second Glengorm appraisal well 22/21c-14 completed on 19 December 2021, after spudding on 21 May with the Prospector 5 jack-up. According to both CNOOC and Energean press releases, the well contained no commercial hydrocarbons and has been plugged and abandoned. It is understood that reservoir was encountered in the Upper Jurassic and Triassic. The Glengorm Central well was drilled 1.9 km to the southwest of the 2019 discovery well and was targeting the Upper Jurassic J54 Freshney Member (Heather Formation). The aim was to further refine Glengorm’s resource volumes following the Glengorm South appraisal well which was completed as a dry hole on 16 May 2021 and resulted in resources being downgraded to c. 100 mmboe. With the Glengorm Central well completing as a dry hole this has led to a further downgrade in resources which Westwood estimates as c. 50 mmboe. The discovery is still considered to be commercial with a potential to tie back to Gannet, Shearwater, ETAP or Culzean.
The Maersk Resilient jack-up is currently being mobilised to drill the Petrogas 22/19a-8 Birgitta appraisal well.
Southern North Sea
No E&A wells have been drilled in the SNS since the 53/14a-2 Aspen well which completed in December 2019. The next exploration well that is expected to be drilled in the region is Shell and Deltic’s 41/5a-B Pensacola exploration well, which is expected to be spudded in May 2022, or IOG’s 53/1b Kelham North & Kelham Central dual lateral exploration well.