Premier lines up rigs for North Sea wells

Offshore staff

LONDON Premier Oil expects to drill two exploratory wells in the UK North Sea this year.

One will be on the Bagpuss/Blofeld heavy-oil exploration prospect in the Moray Firth offshore northeast Scotland.

Premier will use the jackup Ensco 100, currently engaged on development drilling on the Catcher project, for the other wildcat on the nearby Laverda-Slough structure.

West of Shetland, the Premier-operated Solan development is close to first oil following delays brought on by severe weather. This has impacted final commissioning of the offshore installation systems.

If necessary, the company will take up an option to extend the hire of the Flotel Superior for support services until end-May.

Currently the semisubmersible Ocean Valiant is completing the second injector well (W2) after intersecting around 700 ft (213 m) of good-quality reservoir sand. It will then side track the second Solan producer well, which had to be suspended last September following mechanical issues.

Initially production from Solan should reach 10-12,000 boe/d, rising to plateau rates of 20-25,000 boe/d when the second producer is completed and tied-in around mid-year.

An onshore control room to support the field’s operations has been set up in Premier’s Aberdeen office, facilitating a switch for the platform to a not permanently manned state roughly one year after first oil. This should result in lower operating costs.

As for Premier’s Catcher project in the UK central North Sea, construction of the FPSO continues at various yards in Southeast Asia, and supplier BW Offshore has reaffirmed the sail away date of the completed vessel following mitigating actions.

The first major hull section was delivered in December to the yard in Japan from South Korea. Topsides module and turret assembly is progressing in Batam and Singapore.

Topsides/hull and integration work is expected to begin in Singapore around mid-year.

Catcher’s subsea facilities, including flowline bundles and associate towheads, the buoy and the mid water arches (riser buoyancy aids), are due to be installed at the North Sea location this summer.


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