Drilling starts on deepwater Bellatrix prospect offshore Senegal

Offshore staff

EDINBURGH, UK – The Ocean Rig Athena has spudded the BEL-1 exploration well offshore Senegal, operated by Cairn Energy.

The well on the Bellatrix prospect in the previously untested Buried Hills play will be drilled in 1,100 m (3,609 ft) of water to a TDVSS (total vertical depth subsea) of around 2,757 m (9,045 ft), followed by a program of logging and coring. The well will also be deepened to appraise the northern part of the SNE oil field.

Operations should be completed in April, according to partner FAR.

Cairn has raised its 2C resource estimate for the SNE field by 20% to 385 MMbbl of oil following analysis of the SNE-2 appraisal well, drilled earlier this year.

Results are also under evaluation for the recently completed SNE-3, which could lead to further revisions in the resource assessment.

Initial findings from SNE-3, which has been P&A’d, are:

  • Two drillstem tests (DST) within the upper reservoirs confirmed deliverability from both these sections, with DST 1a flowing up to 5,400 b/d, with a main flow rate of 4,000 b/d over a 24-hr period from a 15-m (49-ft) zone  
  • For DST 1b an additional zone of 5.5 m (18 m) was added and a combined maximum rate of 5,200 b/d measured, with an associated main flow rate of 4,500 b/d during a 6-hr period. In both cases, main flow was delivered using a 56/64-in. choke
  • Multiple samples of oil and gas were recovered to surface from wireline logs and DSTs, and analysis confirmed similar reservoir quality and correlation of the principal reservoir units between the SNE-1, SNE-2, and SNE-3 wells
  • 144 m (472 ft) of continuous core was taken across the entire reservoir interval during SNE-3, with 100% recovery
  • Analysis revealed oil-down-to and oil-up-to depths of 101 m (331 ft) gross, similar to those for the earlier two wells, with the same 32° API oil quality.

Cairn estimates that its deepwater SNE and FAN discoveries and other identified prospects and leads on its acreage offshore Senegal could contain more than 1 Bbbl.

Last December a 2,400-sq km (927-sq mi) 3D seismic survey was completed over the Sangomar Offshore block and the southwest part of the Rufisque block, with a view to develop additional prospectivity to a drill ready status in 2016.


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