Arctic Success: Cairn spies oil and gas at Alpha, continues drilling offshore Greenland

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Cairn (LON:CNE) has seen shows of both oil and natural gas with its Alpha-1S1 exploration well in the Arctic waters offshore Greenland.

Spud on July 1 by the Stena Don semisubmersible, the Alpha-1 exploration well is located on the Sigguk Block, about 175 kilometers offshore Disko Islands off the west coast of Greenland. Only the seventh well ever to be drilled offshore Greenland, drilling on the well was stopped for a number of days due to Greenland activists.

Targeting multiple objectives, the Alpha-1S1 exploration well reached an intermediate depth of 4,358 meters in volcanic sections. Extensive logging was conducted, and now the well is being deepened.

Thus far, the well has transected gas shows in silty and volcanic sections over hundreds of meters, and oil has been spied across a 400-meter section in the volcanic and volcano-clastic intervals of the well, requiring further evaluation.

“The presence of both oil and gas confirms an active, working petroleum system in the basin and is extremely encouraging at this very early stage of our exploration campaign for the Sigguk block and the entire area,” said Sir Bill Gammell, chief executive of Cairn.

Preliminary geochemical analysis by an independent company of the hydrocarbon samples from the Alpha well confirms the well has encountered two oil types from different origins and with different levels of maturity. This is the first oil encountered in the current exploration campaign offshore Greenland.

Other Exploration Wells Offshore Greenland

Despite encountering gas in thin sands, the T8-1 exploration well in the Baffin Bay Basin did not result in a commercial discovery and has been plugged and abandoned.

Also located in the Baffin Bay Basin, the T4-1 exploration well is presently drilling ahead at 1,900 meters. T4-1 is located about 100 kilometers north of the Alpha and T8 wells.

Cairn is the operator of the Sigguk block with 77.5 percent interest. Parnters on the block include Nunaoil with 12.5 percent carried interest and Petronas with 10 percent interest.

A largely unexplored region, Greenland may offer a new hydrocarbon province with an estimated 51.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent in the waters offshore the Arctic country.

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