German oil and gas firm Wintershall said yesterday its Catcher project 110 miles east of Aberdeen had put the area back on its radar.
Poor weather took its toll through much of last month; nonetheless, four wells were spudded and one operation - previously suspended due to harsh sea conditions - was resumed.
Oil and gas operator Bridge Energy said yesterday it had enjoyed a transformational final quarter last year.
In the UK, seven appraisal wells and three exploration wells are currently active, including four new appraisal spuds, two of which are sidetracks. This brings the total spuds for this year to 25 E&A starts; comprising 13 appraisal and, with no change since the last report, 12 exploration wells.
Aberdeen-based oil and gas firm Dana Petroleum said yesterday was ordering a new-build floating production vessel for its near-£1billion Western Isles North Sea development.
Statoil is to use Seadrill's West Aquarius deepwater drilling rig for its 2012-13 exploration campaign offshore Newfoundland.
VALIANT Petroleum said yesterday the next 18 months had the potential to create a "step change" for the business as it announced strong first-half results.
Exploration and appraisal (E&A) starts on the UKCS in the first two months of the year amount to three exploration wells and three appraisal wells. However, 10 E&A wells are currently active, all utilising mobile rigs, which are working on five exploration wells and the same number of appraisals.
NAUTICAL Petroleum, the Aim-listed heavy-oil explorer, said yesterday it had raised £30.35million in a share placing to help fund its planned activity until the end of 2011.
SCOTTISH oil and gas operator Cairn Energy said yesterday it had gained approval from the Greenland government to go ahead with the first two exploration wells of a four-well programme planned this summer.
NEWLY completed ultra-deepwater drillship Petrobras 10000 has started work in Angola for Petrobras under a 10-year contract. The vessel is to drill a series of exploration wells - rumoured to be up to nine at present - in Angola's deepwater blocks 16 and 18/6 in the Benguela sub-basin of the Kwanza Basin, an area that has so far not been tested with the drillbit. Miocene and Oligocene sands are the main targets as they display seismic anomalies that are thought to be large turbidite plays.
Chancellor Alistair Darling's latest visit to Aberdeen set me thinking - not least because of the Treasury's "get lost" message to the North Sea oil&gas industry that came hot on the heels of his departure from the city, having apparently raised false hopes.
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.
As I scribble this month's column, West Texas Intermediate is trading a few cents short of $115 a barrel, Brent is only a couple of bucks below and the oil price has become a hot topic. Big Oil is in the headlines for something else, too: the largest oil discovery made in decades and, before that, at least two finds that may turn out to be super-giant fields.
TULLOW Oil plans to launch a new exploration drilling campaign on block 2 of its acreage in Uganda this month.
TOTAL has signed an agreement with Nigerian company Conoil Producing to farm into deep offshore block OPL257 for a 40% interest, leaving Conoil as operator with a 50% interest, while another Nigerian company holds the remaining 10%.