As of 24 February, Westwood Global Energy reports that there are two exploration wells, with one each in the NNS and SNS, and one appraisal well active in the CNS. Since the previous report, one exploration well has completed at Orlov.
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. 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.
Central North Sea
The CNOOC-operated 14/26a-N4, Z, Y well was spudded on 8 September 2022 from the Golden Eagle Northern Drill Centre with the COSLInnovator semi-sub. The initial well was an infill development well, targeting the NW part of the Atlantic field. The well was sidetracked as an appraisal well on 1 November 2022. A further appraisal sidetrack, 14/26a-N4Y, was kicked off on 8 January 2023 and is currently operating. Both sidetracks are appraising the Punt Sandstone Member in the northern part of the field.
The Shell-operated 22/8a-5 Orlov HPHT exploration well completed on c. 14 February, having been spudded on 14 August with the Valaris 122 jack-up rig. The well was targeting Upper Jurassic Fulmar sandstones in a structural trap in an interpod play setting, with pre-drill resources of 5 – 25 – 60 mmboe. It is rumoured that the well has made a discovery and a DST was carried out, with Shell reporting ‘good signs’. However, there have been no updates regarding the results.
Southern North Sea
The Shell-operated 42/5a-2 Pensacola well is being completed, after being spudded on 21 November 2022 with the Noble Resilient jack-up rig. The Zechstein discovery is reported as having post-drill P90-P50-P10 resources of 164 – 302 – 519 bcf. The well encountered the primary Z2 Hauptdolomit reservoir target, having a thickness of 18.8m (62ft) and a mean porosity of 16%. A substantial gas column has been proven with no contact seen. After acidisation, the well flowed at maximum rates of 4.75 mmscfpd declining to 1.75 mmscfpd after a 12-hour test. Light 34 – 36° API oil was also produced at 18 bopd. The discovery could be tied back to existing infrastructure or developed as a standalone facility, with gas transported to the Teesside Gas Plant via a c. 70 km pipeline.