An early check on UK North Sea drilling activity indicates that there are 13 active exploration & appraisal wells including, in the southern Central North Sea, the first spud of the 2013.
At the time of writing it's all the sevens: seven E&A wells spudded to date in 2011, seven wells completed and seven wells currently operating or drilling.
Several recent exploration successes show there is still much to play for in the UKCS. With drilling maintaining the levels of the previous month, the outlook for 2010 is potentially as good as any year since 2006, except for 2008.
The start of 2010 sees just four mobile units and a single platform rig active on UKCS exploration and appraisal drilling.
When compared with 2008, the pace of activity in the UKCS remains subdued, with only eight mobile rigs currently active on exploration and appraisal drilling - the same as last month - of which two are drilling sidetracks.
INTO the final quarter of 2008 and a total of 59 exploration and appraisal wells have started on the UKCS so far, an increase of 14 spuds over the same point in 2007 and a level of activity not reached until the start of December that year. Additionally, 36 sidetracks have so far been initiated this year.