Independent Oil and Gas PLC announced on Wednesday that good quality oil samples have been retrieved from an appraisal well on the Skipper oil discovery, in the Northern North Sea.
The samples found at the well, which was drilled to a depth of 3,860 feet, are currently undergoing a full analysis, according to IOG, although initial observations during sampling confirmed the oil to be mobile in the reservoir. Oil viscosity appears likely to be within the 50cP – 150cP range expected by the IOG management, which is significantly better than the viscosity assumed in the Competent Persons Report published by AGR Tracs in September 2013.
If these oil properties are confirmed in tests, which should be completed in September 2016, oil and gas advisory firm First Energy Capital points out that the development will require fewer wells than previous assumptions in the CPR, thereby reducing the base case development costs.
After drilling operations began on July 23, the Skipper appraisal well experienced some operational challenges, which were unrelated to the reservoir. This required an early re-drill of the well and an increased overall well duration. In addition to this, in early August the company experienced a force ten gale at the well location which caused a suspension of operations for almost two and a half days for safety reasons. These delays resulted in an estimated increase in the operational phase of the well by approximately 13 days, the cost of which will be met in the short term by existing London Oil and Gas loan facilities. Other costs are being deferred until the end of 2017, according to IOG.
The next step of the current well program is to drill exploration prospects in the Lower Dornoch and the Maureen formations beneath the Skipper oil field in which the CPR author has mapped structures which together may contain 46 million barrels of oil in place. Initial results of this exploration drilling phase are expected to be available before the end of August.
“The initial data acquired from the Skipper well, our first operated well, is an excellent result for IOG and operations proceed without any reported safety incidents,” said Mark Routh, CEO of IOG.
“By retrieving the oil samples, the primary well objectives have been fulfilled and we have proved that the oil is moving in the Skipper reservoir. This is a significant step for IOG towards achieving the target of being a company with 100 million barrels of oil equivalent heading for development, in assets 100 percent owned as operator,” he added.
“We now move on to drill the exploration prospects, where any further oil discoveries would provide additional upside and look forward to analysing the results in order to progress the Skipper field development plan as soon as possible, in parallel with our exciting gas assets in the Southern North Sea,” Routh concluded.