Development drilling under way at Culzean in the North Sea

Offshore staff

COPENHAGEN, Denmark – The jackup Maersk Highlander has started drilling the first production well on the Maersk Oil-operated HP/HT Culzean field in the UK central North Sea. 

Five more producers will follow, with continuous drilling activity planned over the next five years. First gas from Culzean is slated for 2019.

Gretchen Watkins, CEO designate of Maersk Oil, said: “This is an important milestone in ensuring that we can deliver Culzean on schedule, and with it 5% of UK gas demand in 2020/21.”

The Maersk Highlander is drilling the well through a wellhead platform (WHP) jacket and well access deck (WAD), both installed this spring.

When the three topsides are in place in 2018 and hooked up the following year, three of the six producer wells will be ready for first gas.

Heerema built the WHP jacket and the WAD in the Netherlands and Hartlepool, UK, while construction of the wellhead topsides continues in Singapore. More than 30 UK-based well service companies will support the drilling campaign.

Maersk Drilling and Maersk Oil have jointly prepared the drilling campaign based on a digital “virtual well,” using a drilling simulator at Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University.

Andrew Lough, Culzean’s wells delivery manager, said: “Working on a virtual rig, designed to look and feel like the Maersk Highlander has been invaluable.

“It has enabled us to prepare in a very lifelike environment for the drilling campaign, which will contribute to a safe and efficient drilling operation.”


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