North Sea license transfer could trigger multi-field steam flood project

Offshore staff

LONDON – The Steam Oil Production Co. (SOPC) has an agreement to acquire a 100% interest in UK North Sea license P1996 from EnQuest Heather.

This covers blocks 28/2b and 28/3b, which include the heavy-oil Elke and Narwhal discoveries.

Transfer of the interest is subject to Britain’s Oil & Gas Authority approving SOPC as license operator.

Arco discovered Narwhal in 1993 with well 28/2-1, which encountered 14° API oil in an Eocene Tay sandstone reservoir: the oil viscosity was more than 2,000 cP. Narwhal has estimated in-place oil of around 41 MMbbl.

Murphy drilled the Elke discovery well 28/3-1B in 2000. This too is a Tay sandstone reservoir but of a slightly different age to Narwhal.

At the time a full logging suite was recorded, reservoir pressures measured, oil samples taken and core recovered over the reservoir interval. The API gravity of the oil samples ranges from 12° to 15° with viscosity believed to be in the range 300 to 800 cP at reservoir conditions. In-place oil is around 185 MMbbl.

There are various other low-risk Tay sand prospects within the license area with resources of just over 100 MMbbl, SOPC adds, and a further Jurassic prospect that could contain just under 100 MMbbl.

These, combined with the Pilot Main, Pilot South and Harbour discoveries, less than 20 km (12.4 mi) to the northwest, offer a total of close to 500 MMbbl of heavy oil that appears well suited to a steam flood development, SOPC claims.

It foresees a combined scheme for Elke and Narwhal fields as part of a wider Western Platform Steam Flood project centered on the Pilot field in license P2244.

Based on preliminary thermal reservoir simulation work the company is confident it could produce more than 250 MMbbl of oil from these fields using a steam flood approach, making this potentially one of the most significant North Sea developments in the coming decade.


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