Extended shutdown likely at Erskine in North Sea

Offshore staff

LONDON – Serica Energy has issued an update on its producing and exploration interests in UK and Irish waters.

Late February, production from the Erskine field was temporarily suspended during efforts to recover a pig from the BG-operated Lomond to Everest condensate line, and also to repair a condensate export pump on the Lomond platform.

This work should have been completed by mid-April but wax deposits close to a blockage in the pipeline have inhibited recovery of the pig. It will now take several more weeks to ensure the line is fully cleared of wax.

A two-month maintenance shutdown was already planned to begin in June on the Lomond platform, corresponding with a one-month shutdown of the CATS pipeline system through which Erskine gas is exported.

A re-start of production from Erskine will probably now be deferred until after those programs have been completed.

Erskine should benefit from flush production, Serica points out, due to reservoir pressure re-charge once the field restarts with no loss of reserves.

The efficiency of the facilities and export route availability during the second half of last year rose to around 70%. Serica is working with the operators of Erskine and Lomond to improve the performance further and ensure the facilities continue to perform well for some time to come.

In the East Irish Sea off northwest England, the company has a 20% interest in blocks 113/26b and 113/27c, which include the Triassic Doyle gas prospect.

Britain’s Oil and Gas Authority has extended the license to end-2016 to give the partners more time to drill an exploration well on Doyle. New operator Zennor North Sea (ex-MPX) has assumed operatorship of the license.

Doyle may extend further into block 113/22a, also operated by Zennor, and the partners may sanction a 2D seismic survey to confirm this.

Serica holds a 20% interest in block 113/22a which is also operated by Zennor North Sea Ltd. The Doyle prospect in block 113/27c is believed to extend into block 113/22a and a 2D seismic acquisition may be conducted to confirm this extension.

Offshore western Ireland, Serica gained an extension last year from the Irish Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources for frontier exploration license 1/09 until July 2017.

In return the company relinquished 61% of the license, only retaining 390 sq km (150 sq mi) over key prospects.

Following seismic processing studies last year over these structures, the company plans to integrate released well data in the region, including rock cuttings and oil samples, into its prospect analysis.

Serica is seeking farm-in partners to help drill Muckish, a large structurally-closed gas condensate prospect in 1,450 m (4,757 ft) of water with potential resources of 1 tcf.

With drilling costs having fallen substantially, an exploration well could cost less than $40 million, the company claims. The Dooish gas condensate discovery drilled in 2002 is in an adjacent block.

In the same region, Serica has an interest in FEL 4/13 - blocks 11/10, 11/15, 12/1(part), 12/6 and 12/11(part), extending more than 925 sq km (357 sq mi).

Identified prospects include Aghla More and Aghla Beg, thought to be analogous to Dooish immediately to the east, and Derryveagh, a Cretaceous fan structure overlying Aghla More.

An exploration well has been designed to penetrate both prospects.

Serica is seeking a partner prior to drilling an exploration well that has already been designed to penetrate Derryveagh and Aghla More, which could hold 3.8 tcf combined.


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