i3 Energy spuds new pilot well on Liberator field

UK independent i3 Energy has started drilling a new pilot well at its Liberator field in the outer Moray Firth, offshore UK.

Borgland Dolphin under mobilization to the current drilling operations for i3 Energy in August 2019. Source: Dolphin Drilling CEO Bjørnar Iversen

i3 said on Friday that this was the third and final well in a three-well campaign the company was carrying out with the Borgland Dolphin rig.

According to the company, the Liberator A2 pilot well will help i3 choose where to drill the future LP-02 production well.

The drilling of the final well follows the successful drilling, plugging, and abandonment of the Serenity well. The well struck oil in late October, confirming the strong commercial potential of the Serenity area.

Preliminary well results were consistent with i3 Energy’s pre-drill estimate of 197 MMbbls STOIIP for the entire Serenity closure within the company’s license area.

At the time, i3 has also agreed a rig contract extension and payment deferral with Dolphin Drilling. Namely, due to an unexpected on the Liberator field, and standby time incurred before drilling ops at Serenity, the company secured a right of first refusal on the Borgland Dolphin semi-submersible rig to January 31, 2020, so that the company can continue drilling operations at Serenity and Liberator.

Associated with this contract extension, Dolphin agreed to defer certain payments for drilling costs beyond September 30, 2019, which will be due to settle between January and August 2020.

i3 and Dolphin also entered into a strategic operational alliance for the use of Dolphin drilling rigs for i3 operations to August 2023, which would cover potential future appraisal and development drilling on Liberator and Serenity.

The company added in its statement on Friday that it agreed to issue £5 million of equity to the funders of its May 2019 junior loan notes at a price of 35p per share via private placement to provide flexibility to extend the drilling program.

The deadline by which i3 must enter a reserve-based lending facility or find alternative development financing has been extended from December 6 to April 30, 2020.

Majid Shafiq, CEO of i3 Energy, said: “We are excited to be drilling again at Liberator on the back of our success at Serenity.

“The A2 location has been selected as a low-risk target in close proximity to Liberator’s two well penetrations, giving us a high-level of confidence when tied into the recently reprocessed seismic that was used to select the Serenity discovery well location.

“The company is also very pleased with the additional funding we’ve received from our loan noteholders. Their continued material support shows a great level of confidence in i3’s assets and management team.”


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Oil majors’ West of Shetland assets to overtake North Sea as major producing basin in UK

Over the last four years oil and gas production in the West of Shetlands has risen and with that, a growing relevance for the biggest players still active in the UK continental shelf (UKCS), says GlobalData, a data and analytics company.

Clair Ridge platforms; Source: BP

The company’s latest research reveals that the West of Shetland (WoS) area retains the attention of major Exploration and Production (E&P) players in the region; however infrastructure restraints could hinder future growth potential in the basin.

Despite the US-based E&P majors, such as Chevron and ConocoPhillips largely divesting out of the UK’s E&P sector of late, their European peers have not followed suit, according to GlobalData.

Of the highly successful 30th UK Offshore Licensing Round held in 2017, approximately 75% of the licensed WoS blocks had European major participation. Moreover, European majors have stakes in 80% of the planned and announced projects in the area compared to approximately 40% in the North Sea.

Daniel Rogers, Upstream Oil and Gas Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “In 2018, Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) and BP Plc (BP)’s hydrocarbon production combined accounted for over half of the WoS total volume. Over recent years both companies have seen North Sea production volumes lose dominance in relation to their UK portfolios. As a result, the WoS is set to overtake the North Sea as Shell’s major producing basin in the UK by 2020, whereas this occurred for BP in 2018”.

The majority of upcoming field developments in the area are oil focused as oil processing capacity at the Sullom Voe terminal is currently around half utilized with expected excess capacity available over the near term. However, the Shetland Gas Plant (SGP), where the areas gas is collected, processed and exported, is currently running at less than 25% spare capacity and newly discovered gas volumes in the basin could push the infrastructure to its limits.

Rogers continued: “Total’s recently discovered Glendronach gas-condensate field is expected to add over 200 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of gas supply to the SGP at its peak and could commence production as early as 2021. This, in addition to gas volumes coming from the Cambo and Rosebank oil field developments could further strain the existing infrastructure.

“Operators looking to develop new gas fields in the WoS through the mid-2020s could be challenged by the areas capacity restraints. The investments required for facility expansions may impact project returns and force operators away from marginal gas developments.”


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CNOOC drills duster offshore UK

CNOOC Petroleum Europe Limited has drilled a dry well located West of Shetland.

Island Innovator rig
Island Innovator; Source: Island Drilling

CNOOC Petroleum Europe Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited, confirmed to Offshore Energy Today on Thursday it had drilled and completed its Howick exploration well, 206/21-1, located West of Shetland.

The well was safely plugged and abandoned with dry hole status, the company added.

According to information on Bassoe Offshore, the Howick well was drilled using the Island Innovator semi-submersible drilling rig with a dayrate of $160,000. The rig’s contract with CNOOC is set to expire in November 2019.

Elsewhere in the UK, the CNOOC Petroleum Europe Limited-operated Buzzard field remains shut in more than a week after its second shutdown this month. The field is located about 96 kilometers northeast of Aberdeen, in approximately 96 meters of water.

In related news, CNOOC Limited on Thursday reported it had achieved a total net production of 124.8 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) for the third quarter of 2019, representing an increase of 9.7% year over year.

Production from offshore China increased 8.9% YoY to 80.2 million BOE, mainly attributable to production growth from the start-up of new projects. Overseas production increased 11.2% YoY to 44.6 million BOE, mainly due to the contribution from the new projects of Egina and Appomattox.

During the period, the company made three new discoveries and drilled 19 successful appraisal wells. In offshore China, Kenli 6-1 in Bohai was successfully appraised and is expected to be a mid-sized oil and gas structure. In Guyana, the new discovery of Tripletail was made in the Stabroek block, which is the fourteenth oil discovery achieved in the block and will support the future development of the Turbot area.

On development and production, three out of six new projects planned for this year have commenced production. Bozhong 34-9 oil field, Caofeidian 11-1/11-6 comprehensive adjustment project and Wenchang 13-2 comprehensive adjustment project are undergoing offshore commissioning.

Offshore Energy Today Staff


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i3 Energy reaches total depth at Liberator well

UK oil and gas company i3 Energy has reached total depth at its operated Liberator well 13/23c-9 located in the UK North Sea. i3 is now preparing to obtain a vertical seismic profile in the well and to run a shear wave sonic log. 

Borgland Dolphin rig / Image by Stig Silden/Wikimedia – shared under CC BY-SA 3.0 license

i3 Energy hired the Borgland Dolphin rig last April for its undeveloped Liberator oil field and Serenity prospects in the North Sea. The rig completed its acceptance testing ahead of drilling operations in the UK North Sea in mid-August.

i3 Energy announced on Tuesday that the 13/23c-9 pilot well drilled by the Borgland Dolphin on its 100% owned Liberator field had reached total depth at 5818 ft True Vertical Depth subsea (TVDSS) in the Valhall formation.

The objectives of this pilot well are to enable a future development well to be positioned at an optimal location in the upper Captain sands channel in the south-eastern area of the Liberator field.

According to the company, preliminary petrophysical information obtained from the Measurement While Drilling (MWD) tools indicate that the targeted upper Captain sand has not been penetrated and is pinched out at the 13/23c-9 location.

The company said that the lower Captain sand is present in the well and is below the estimated oil water contact as expected.

On initial tie to the seismic data, the well appears to be located proximal to the main upper Captain channel fairway and further well data is required in order to interpret and locate the key reservoir upper Captain channel edge. As such, preparations are being made to obtain a vertical seismic profile (VSP) in the well and to also run a shear wave sonic log, after which 13/23c-9 will be plugged and abandoned as planned.

These data will be used to re-calibrate and update the existing seismic model such that options and plans for further operations at this location to meet the objective of locating a future development well in the south-east area of the field can be made.


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Drill stem test on Hurricane’s UK well produces oil

A drill stem test on the Hurricane Energy-operated Lincoln Crestal well, which is located in the Greater Warwick Area offshore the UK, has produced oil to surface, resulting in a flare. 

Transocean Leader / Photo: Harald Pettersen /Equinor

Lincoln Crestal – or the 205/26b-14 well – is the second well in a three-well program on Lincoln and Warwick (the Greater Warwick Area) being drilled in partnership with Spirit Energy following its farm-in to 50% of the Greater Warwick Area in September 2018.

The Lincoln Crestal was spud in mid-July, using the Transocean Leader semi-submersible drilling rig. By the beginning of September, Hurricane was on track to conduct the drill stem test at the well.

Noting speculations regarding the flare on the Transocean Leader drilling rig, Hurricane confirmed in an update on Monday that a drill stem test on the Lincoln Crestal well had produced oil to surface, resulting in a flare.

At 13:10 on Sunday, September 8, 2019, the well was shut-in to enable a planned pressure build-up test.

“The company will update the market on initial results of the well, including flow rates and oil type, following completion of the ongoing testing phase,” Hurricane concluded.


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Maersk firms hired for Thames field decommissioning

Maersk Decom, together with Maersk Supply Service, has been hired for project managing the removal, recycling, and waste management of subsea infrastructure for Perenco’s Thames field in the UK North Sea. 

Maersk Installer
Maersk Installer; Source: Maersk Decom

Maersk Decom was created in April 2018 as a 50:50 joint venture between Maersk Drilling and Maersk Supply Service to provide decommissioning solutions to the offshore energy industry.

The project for Perenco includes the cut and recovery of wellheads and wellhead protection structures, as well as end-to-end recycling and waste management, Maersk Decom said on Monday.

It is being delivered by an integrated team covering project management, engineering, and execution from subsea support vessel Maersk Installer.

Lars Banke, Chief Executive Officer of Maersk Decom, said: “This is an important milestone for Maersk Decom, being the first project that moves our new company from studies and project development into execution.

“By integrating the project team, we will be able to ensure a seamless interface between the recovery and disposal scopes.”

According to the company, the offshore phase started last month following the completion of ongoing decommissioning work at the Leadon field.


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Sembcorp Marine lands Cambo FPSO design deal with Siccar Point

Siccar Point Energy has awarded an exclusive Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) contract to Sembcorp Marine for the design of a Sevan cylindrical FPSO for its Cambo field development on the UK Continental Shelf.

Jonathan Roger, CEO of Siccar Point; Source: Siccar Point

The Cambo field, located 125km northwest of the Shetland Islands and in a water depth of 1100m, was discovered in 2002, and subsequently had four appraisal wells drilled up to 2012 and a final successful appraisal well was drilled and flow tested by Siccar Point during the summer of 2018.

Sevan SSP AS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sembcorp Marine, having been acquired in 2018. Sembcorp Marine has contracted KBR for topsides design and integration support with work being carried out in Singapore and Norway.

The Cambo partners had been working with two FEED contracting options since early this year and have now selected Sembcorp Marine to complete their FEED work for the Sevan cylindrical FPSO, Siccar Point said on Thursday.

In addition to the FPSO contract, other FEED work is being undertaken by BHGE for wells, subsea and riser systems, and by Genesis for a gas export pipeline.

A draft Field Development Plan has been submitted to the Oil & Gas Authority. Formal project sanction will be sought following completion of the FEED activities.

It is also worth mentioning that Shell acquired a 30% working interest stake in the field from Siccar Point in 2018.

Jonathan Roger, CEO of Siccar Point commented: “This is another important milestone for the Cambo project and we look forward to working with our partner Shell as we progress towards formal project sanction next year.”


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Prosafe bags Mariner extension for ‘Safe Boreas’

Norwegian oil and gas company Equinor has exercised the fourth of six one-month options to extend Prosafe’s Safe Boreas flotel at the Mariner project in the UK sector of the North Sea.

Safe Boreas on Mariner field; Source: Prosafe

Prosafe said on Friday that the unit is being used to accommodate personnel working on Mariner in the hook up and early production phase through October 2019.

Total value of the one-month option is approximately $5 million, Prosafe added.

It is worth reminding that Equinor exercised the third of six one-month options for the Safe Boreas back in April 2019.

Discovered in 1981 on the East Shetland Platform, approximately 150 kilometers east of the Shetland Islands, the Mariner is a heavy oil field characterized by dense, viscous oil. First oil from the Mariner field was achieved earlier this week and the field is expected to produce more than 300 million barrels of oil over the next 30 years.

The Mariner reservoirs have up to 3 billion barrels of oil in place, a 50% increase on what was originally assumed, and the estimated recovery rate has already been increased by 20 percent. Mariner is expected to produce annual average plateau rates of around 55,000 barrels of oil per day and up to 70,000 barrels of oil per day at peak production.

Offshore Energy Today Staff


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DOF scores work on decommissioning project offshore UK

Norwegian vessel provider DOF Subsea has been awarded a contract in the decommissioning sector offshore the UK.

Skandi Skansen; Author: Alan Jamieson

DOF said on Thursday that the contract with a ‘major operator’ was for decommissioning of subsea infrastructure in the third quarter of 2019.

According to the company, the works will be undertaken by the Skandi Skansen vessel together with DOF-owned AHTS vessels.

DOF added that this was the second award with the same operator in as many months in the decommissioning segment.

The 2011-built Skandi Skansen has also recently been awarded a contract for mooring installation on the Njord Future project by Equinor.

Earlier this year, DOF also won contracts in the UK and Norway for UXO investigation/detonation, Seabed Mapping, Pipeline and Structural Inspection and Seabed rectification support using the Skandi Skansen, Geosund, and Skandi Hera vessels.


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Shell’s Brent Bravo topside arrives at UK port to be scrapped

Shell’s Brent Bravo platform topside has arrived at Able UK’s Able Seaton Port following its removal from the UK North Sea with the giant Pioneering Spirit vessel earlier this week. 

Brent Bravo; Source: Able UK

The Allseas-owned Pioneering Spirit vessel removed the 25,000 t Brent Bravo topsides last Tuesday. Watch the video of the removal operation here.

The operation took approximately four hours, from positioning the vessel around the platform to the moment of the lift. The actual “fast lift” of the topsides took only nine seconds.

UK’s decommissioning expert, Able UK, announced the arrival of the topsides to its port on Thursday, June 20 in preparation for its dismantling and recycling.

The Brent Bravo, which stands 410ft tall and 230ft wide, is the second platform from the Shell Brent field to be decommissioned at Able Seaton Port—the first, the Brent Delta, arrived in May 2017. Both were transported from north-east of Shetland by the Pioneering Spirit, one of the largest vessels ever built.

After arriving off the North East coast, the Brent Bravo was transferred to a 200-meter long barge, the Iron Lady, for the final part of the journey to Able Seaton Port where it is currently moored on Quay 6.

Next week, the final manoeuvre will see the platform ‘skidded’ on to the multi-million-pound demolition pad which forms part of what is probably the strongest quay in Europe, Able UK said.

Peter Stephenson, founder and Executive Chairman of Able UK, said: “As with the Brent Delta, this operation has involved one of the heaviest lifts ever undertaken and is a success for everyone involved, especially our partners Shell and Allseas.

“Once again the Brent Bravo will provide a spectacular addition to the Teesside skyline for some time as we undertake the decommissioning program with the aim of recycling over 98 percent of the structure.”

Able invested £28 million in constructing this new facility to meet the requirements for handling the Brent platforms.

During 2020, Able Seaton Port will welcome a number of other new large-scale projects including the next element of the Shell project – the Brent Alpha – as well a series of platforms and structures from the ExxonMobil operated Sable Offshore Energy Project (SOEP) off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada.

Furthermore, from September 2020, Able Seaton Port will be the installation base for the 90 turbines that will comprise the Triton Knoll offshore wind farm.

Stephenson commented: “We have invested very significantly over the last few years and we are now seeing the results. There is a certain synergy in being engaged with the end of life process for parts of the oil and gas sector whilst also being heavily involved with the development of offshore wind farms as the new focus for power generation..”


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