Two oil tiebacks in prospect for North Sea Ninian complex

Offshore staff

CALGARY, Canada – MPX Energy plans to side track appraisal well 3/3b-13 on the Orlando oil discovery in the UK northern North Sea.

Orlando is in the North Viking Graben area, close to the CNR-operated Ninian complex.

Last November, the semisubmersible Wilhunter started drilling well 3/3b-13, but operations were heavily impacted by mechanical and weather issues.

However, on March 30 the well reached its total depth target, encountering the top of the reservoir at around 13,286 ft (4,049 m) MD. Logs confirmed that this section of the Upper Tarbert reservoir is fully oil bearing, and more of the underlying Upper Ness reservoir sands appear to be oil bearing than in the original 3/3-11 discovery well, according to partner Iona Energy.

Drilling also confirmed that the estimated oil column was roughly 270 ft (82 m) above the 11,670 ft (3,557 m) TVDSS oil-water contact inferred by the discovery well.

The side tracking operation is designed to acquire additional reservoir data and fluid samples. MPX and Sorgenia are jointly funding this operation, with no additional cost to Iona.

First oil from Orlando is targeted for 2013, and tied back to Ninian for processing. GE Oil & Gas will supply the christmas trees for the development.

Last November, Iona also signed a sale and purchase agreement with Fairfield Cedrus for the 100% ownership and operatorship of UK northern block 3/8d containing the Kells (ex-Staffa) oil field.

Britain’s government has approved Iona’s application for exploration operatorship, and the company has submitted a field redevelopment plan and environmental statement.

Kells is due south of Orlando, and 14 km (8.7 mi) southeast of the Ninian Central platform. The field is a three-way fault closed structure 4 km (2.5 mi) long by 2 km (1.2 mi) wide, with a 489-ft (149 m) oil column in the Upper Brent sandstone reservoirs.

As Staffa, it produced oil at rates of 5,800-10,000 b/d during 1992 and 1994, when production ceased.

Iona has issued contracts for drilling of the Kells development well and for project management, engineering, christmas trees, and procurement of other equipment.



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