Cladhan nears start-up in North Sea

Offshore staff

CALGARY, CanadaSterling Resources expects the TAQA-operated Cladhan oil field development in the UK northern North Sea to start production later this month.

During 3Q, the subsea work program and shutdown activities on the host Tern platform were both completed.

At the Breagh field in the southern North Sea, a further round of development drilling is expected to get under way in January from the Breagh Alpha platform.

The partners plan two to four new wells (A09-A12), of which the first two (A09 and A10) are currently budgeted with finalized well programs and cost estimates.

In addition, operator DEA UK and Sterling are developing a program to re-enter and re-perforate the A04 well to improve well performance; to hydraulically frack production well A05; and to continue drilling on Breagh Alpha with wells A11 and A12 following final interpretation of the 2014 3D seismic survey.

Phase 2 development planning, however, stays on hold pending interpretation of this new 3D information.
Front-end engineering and design work for onshore compression at the Teesside gas processing plant that receives Breagh’s production started in July 2015, with a final investment decision expected late in 2015.

Compression could be operational in the second half of 2017, initially boosting production rates by 40-50%.

Elsewhere in the UK sector, Sterling has decided to withdraw from the Shell-operated block 21/30f containing the Belinda discovery, a potential tieback to the nearby Triton FPSO, after a new evaluation indicated poor financial metrics.

The company continues a farm-down process on blocks 42/2a, 42/3a, 42/4, 42/5 and 36/30, 25 km (15.5 mi) north of Breagh and containing the Darach and Ossian prospects. The UK Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) has agreed to extend the license expiry date to December 2018, the deadline for drilling a commitment well.

In August, OGA also approved the relinquishment of block 49/18b containing the Nia prospect, with a waiver for a contingent well. However, Sterling retains its 100% interest in block 49/19b and the associated the Niadar prospect. OGA has extended the license to December 2017.

In the Dutch North Sea, processing has been completed of 500 sq km (193 sq mi) of 3D seismic acquired for Sterling last year over the F17 and F18 blocks. Inversion of the processed data started this month, with interpretation set to be completed during 1Q 2016.

The seismic was acquired to improve resolution of reservoir distribution and reduce structural uncertainty; to assist in evaluating new exploration potential in the area; and to aid in the evaluation of development options such as a tieback to a potential new Wintershall offshore oil hub. License extensions have been granted to January 2017.


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