Shell Starts Drilling High-Impact Gas Well Off UK


Supermajor Shell has started drilling operations on a high-impact gas prospect in the North Sea using a Noble-owned rig.

The Pensacola prospect is operated by Shell with Deltic Energy as a partner. A positive well-investment decision for this prospect was made in March.

Located to the northwest of the Breagh gas field in the Southern North Sea, Pensacola is a Zechstein Reef prospect with a 55 percent geological chance of success, ranking it as one of the highest impact exploration targets to be drilled in the gas basin in recent years.

Deltic Energy said in a statement that the Maersk Resilient rig had been safely installed on the Pensacola location and that drilling operations had begun.

It is worth noting that Deltic has a 30 percent working interest. According to the company, it estimates that the Pensacola natural gas prospect contains gross P50 Prospective Resources of 309 bcf.

The drilling operations are expected to last between 60 and 90 days and the well has been planned to be plugged and abandoned after drilling ops.

"We are excited to have commenced the well operations of our first exploration well on the Pensacola gas prospect. Pensacola is a high impact, potentially play opening prospect and represents what we hope will be the first of many wells as the company continues to implement its strategy to identify opportunities and discover gas to support the UK's energy needs," Graham Swindells, Chief Executive of Deltic Energy, said.

Shell has previously picked Maersk Drilling – now merged with Noble Corporation – to provide the Maersk Resilient which is now renamed to Noble Resilient to carry out the drilling of the Pensacola well and seabed operations for the placing of this rig was slated to start towards the end of July – later moved to late November.

The 2009-built Noble Resilient Gusto-engineered MSC CJ 50 high-efficiency jack-up rig was constructed at Keppel Fels Shipyard in Singapore. It can accommodate 120 people.