The UK business of CNOOC-owned Nexen Petroleum is planning two high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) exploration wells in the North Sea, with at least one in 2017, and assessing a phase 2 of its massive Buzzard development.
Presenting its forward plans at the Oil & Gas UK organized Share Fair event in Aberdeen this morning, a spokeswoman for the firm said its Buzzard phase 2 was in select phase. “Various options” had been evaluated, with infill drilling on the northern area of the Buzzard field and subsea tiebacks tying in to the Buzzard facility being the front runner.
Buzzard is the UK’s highest producing oil field, producing 190,000 boe/d at the moment. Nexen's Lynne Bremner said the firm was now working with partners to finalize the Phase 2 plan, which could move in to a define phase in Q4 this year. Tender evaluation work for a heavy duty jackup to do drilling work over Buzzard in 2017 or 2018 is ongoing.
Bremner also outlined plans for the Craster and Glengorm exploration wells. Craster will be drilled west of Shetland. For it, Nexen is seeking a HPHT capable semisubmersible drilling rig, with a contract award expected shortly. Drilling is due to start in June-July 2017.
Glengorm will be drilled in the central North Sea. For it, Nexen is seeking a heavy duty jackup rig, with a contract expected to be awarded before the end of the year. A drilling date wasn't given.
Nexen was also successful in the latest Irish Atlantic licensing round. It received four license options in the Porcupline Basin covering 23 blocks and part blocks over 4500sq km. A seismic acquisition strategy for this area is currently being developed, says the firm, with drilling potentially as early as 2018.
Nexen is also looking at other drilling opportunities – production and exploration - in the central North Sea, for which it is seeking a 10,000 psi capable semisubmersible rig, as well as plugging and abandonment on 13 wells on its Ettrick and Blackbird fields, which have already ceased production and the floating production facility which they produced through removed. Buoy and mooring spread removal is expected next year, with plugging and abandonment work following that.
The firm is also currently drilling a well, ST66, on its Scott field, with other infill opportunities being assessed.
Meanwhile, the firm, which had been the biggest producer in the North Sea until the Shell/BG group merger, says it is expecting achieve <US$10/bbl lifting costs by the end of the year, making it the lowest cost producer on the UK Continental Shelf.
The firm says it increased spending from 2015 to 2016 and would either spend the same again in 2017 or more, Bremner said.
Image: The Buzzard platform. Image from Nexen.