BP drills Southern North Sea prospect

BP has begun drilling a potential carboniferous gas play in southern North Sea block 43/26a that, if successful, could open up a new phase of development in the region, the supermajor announced 5 December.

The well, being drilled with partners Perenco and Premier, will test the potential of a deep carboniferous age horizon several hundred meters beneath the mature reservoirs produced by the Ravenspurn ST2 platform.

“This play warrants further exploration as we know the reservoir sands exist," said Mark Thomas, BP North Sea regional president. "What we don’t know is whether, if gas is found, long-term production can be proven economic from this deeply buried reservoir horizon. We’re looking forward to working with Perenco and Premier to test this concept and better understand its potential.”

During the drilling and testing phase, Perenco – as operator of the existing producing Ravenspurn field – will act as substitute operator on behalf of BP and the other license owners.

BP holds an 85% equity stake in the prospect alongside license partners Perenco (10%) and Premier (5%).

BP called the North Sea an important region for the firm, one where it hopes to sustain significant business, it said. Over the next 18 months, BP plans to participate in up to five exploration wells in addition to potentially drilling about 50 developments wells in the North Sea over the next three to four years.

The supermajor stated it expects to spend around US$2 billion in capital investment and $1.6 billion running its operations in 2016.

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