Europe continues to attract drilling investments

Paul Boughton

Major drilling investments in Europe show that the continent remains a lucrative location for oil and gas discovery and development. Eugene McCarthy reports.

Statoil and its partners have agreed to US$1.6 billion (EUR1.2 billion) in contracts for the use of the Bideford Dolphin (MW semisub), Stena Don (MW semisub) and Scarabeo 5 (DW semisub) rigs on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS).

Statoil said the rigs would be used for production drilling for several fast-track developments as well drilling and completion on the Norwegian shelf.

"Securing three rigs in the current market represents a real achievement for the Norwegian shelf. The rig capacity we have secured in these contracts will contribute to achieving our production targets towards 2020, through production drilling on several of our legacy assets and starting production from fast-track developments," said Oystein Michelsen, head of development and production in Norway for Statoil.[Page Break]

The Bideford Dolphin rig, owned by Dolphin Drilling, will be used for production drilling on the Tordis and Vigdis fields, as well as the Statfjord field in the North Sea (Fig. 1), with its contract running from 2014 to 2017. The Stena Don rig, owned by Stena Drilling, will be on contract for three years from 2013 and will be used for production drilling on the Troll field, as well as the fast-track development of Fram H-Nord in the North Sea.

In a separate announcement, offshore drilling specialist Saipem reports that Statoil has awarded it a US$550 million (EUR424 million), three-year contact that extends the charter of its Scarabeo 5 drilling rig for operations in the Norwegian zone of the North Sea. The contract, due to begin in the third quarter of 2014, will be used for drilling and completion on a number of NCS fields.

Norwegian oilfield service firm Aker Solutions has also announced that Statoil will extend an existing contract for the provision of well services for a period of two more years. The initial three-year contract, which started in 2009, was to supply mechanical wireline services on Statoil operated fields and mobile drilling units on the NCS.

Aker said that it estimates the two-year extension will generate revenues for it of up to US$140 million (EUR108 million) and the contract will keep around 400 of its staff in employment - 60 per cent of whom will support Statoil offshore.[Page Break]

Aker has also reported its biggest ever order backlog, showing that the market for oilfield services is very healthy. The company's backlog currently stands at US$10.5 billion (EUR8.1 billion) - a 44 per cent increase since the beginning of 2012.

Meanwhile oil and gas exploration and production company Bridge Energy has discovered new oil accumulation by well 34/6-2S, known as the Garantiana Well, situated in the Norwegian North Sea PL554.

A 20 per cent license partner in PL554, Bridge Energy has confirmed that the Garantiana Well has been drilled to a TVD of 4050m in the Triassic Lunde formation. The well penetrated an oil-bearing Cook Formation with good reservoir characteristics. No oil-water contact was encountered. Preliminary results show an oil rate of around 4000 bbl/day through a 28/64" choke. Dependent on available rig days, a sidetrack may be drilled with the purpose of defining down flank oil-water contact. Resource volume estimates are pending analyses of the results.[Page Break]

Total E&P Norge is the operator with a 40 per cent interest in the well, with the other partners Det norske oljeselskap and Svenska Petroleum Exploration both having a 20 per cent interest.

Tom Reynolds, ceo Bridge Energy, said: "I am delighted to announce an oil discovery in the Cook formation at Garantiana, PL554. This is a licence which Bridge applied for as operator in the Norwegian 2009 APA licensing round and developed into very attractive acreage before the farm-down and transfer of operatorship to Total in 2011. Garantiana has the potential to add significant resources to Bridge as an attractive discovery in its own right and has also de-risked several adjoining exploration opportunities on the licence. I believe this demonstrates the vision and capability of our Norwegian team, led by Alfred Kjemperud, and look forward to the results of our remaining 2012 well on PL457."[Page Break]

Polish updates

FX Energy has issued an update on two wells that it is currently drilling in Poland. The first, Kutno-2, has been drilled to a total depth of 21,578 feet (6577 metres). The next planned operation is to run a drill stem test (DST) through the zones that had the best gas shows and porosity based upon drilling and log data from the wellbore. The DST is expected to begin shortly. Kutno-2 is being drilled together with the Polish Oil and Gas Company (PGNiG). PGNiG will earn a 50 per cent interest in the Kutno concession in connection with its participation in the Kutno-2 well.

The second well, Frankowo-1, has been drilled to a current depth of approximately 6,890feet (2,100metres). A DST in the top 92 feet (28metres) of the Rotliegend sandstone reservoir, the primary target in the well, recovered gas cut brine and no free gas. The company plans to continue drilling and coring the well to a total depth of 7,218 feet (2,200 metres) to determine the thickness and reservoir properties of the Rotliegend. This data will be critical to the FX Energy's near term exploration plans for the 241,000 acre Block 246, where it holds a 100 per cent interest.

After final coring and logging, the company plans to plug the Rotliegend, then prepare and run a DST in the Main Dolomite, where a 149 foot thick section of gas saturated reef with good fracture and matrix porosity was encountered.

"We are fortunate to have the opportunity to explore Block 246," said Jerzy Maciolek, vice president of international exploration. "We selected this block because a large portion of it is unexplored and appears to have good hydrocarbon potential in the Main Dolomite, Rotliegend and Carboniferous. The Frankowo-1 well has given us encouraging data from both the Main Dolomite and the Rotliegend. Of course we are disappointed that the Rotliegend does not trap at this location, but hopeful about our upcoming test of the Main Dolomite."

The Frankowo-1 well is located on the company's 100 per cent owned Block 246 concession.

Meanwhile San Leon Energy has spud the Czaslaw SL-1 well on the Nowa Sol concession (San Leon 100 per cent) in the Southern Permian Basin, Southwest Poland. The Czaslaw SL-1 is the second exploration well on this concession and is focused on the Main Dolomite trend. The first well, the Lelchow SL-1, confirmed an oil find on the Nowa Sol concession which is currently undergoing further testing.

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