Basement play still attractive – A Friday North Sea wrap up

Basement play still attractive – A Friday North Sea wrap up

The editor's stratigraphic pick - Henk brings you the highlights of this week’s North Sea subsurface news.

With the NCS Exploration Strategy conference taking place this week, there’s a bit too much to report on, so we will focus on a few highlights today and keep the rest for later!

Basement is on the menu next year

It was interesting to see how Joanna Ponicka from Petrolia NOCO outlined the companies’ exploration strategy for the years to come. One really exciting prospect that is on the cards to be drilled next year is the Molaris prospect in PL933 (60% Equinor, 40% Petrolia).

Situated on the Manet Ridge in Quadrant 6201, the company describes on its website that Molaris is a basement prospect which is seen as an analogue to the Lancaster field on the UKCS.

Given the recent downgrade of recoverable volumes announced by Lancaster operator Hurricane, it will be very interesting to follow the results of this high-impact well.

Hydrocarbon migration onto the Manet Ridge is not seen as a key risk, given the fact that well 6201/11-3R discovered oil in the Chalk of the Kyrre Formation (Albert discovery), from which a mini-DST successfully tested good productivity. The Lower Triassic primary objective was found to contain tight sandstone reservoir facies with oil shows.

Below is a seismic section that was included in the relinquishment report issued by Nexen Petroleum in 2013 when they parted from the UK P1605 licence. The prospect Nexen mapped was named Lookout and identified the Triassic as the primary target. The seismic line nicely illustrates the magnitude of fault slip and block rotation that characterises this part of North Sea – in fact the Manet Ridge can be regarded as the northern boundary of the North Sea.

Although three wells were drilled in PL933, none of those made it to basement, neither did 33/2-1 just to the south, which terminated in the Lower Jurassic Statfjord Formation. The closest well that did hit basement is not far away though; UK well 220/26-1 tested more than 200 m of gneiss from which even a core was cut.

Seismic section running across the Manet Ridge in Norwegian waters close to the UK median line. Source.

INEOS to drill exciting well updip of Fenja

Also presented at the NCS Exploration Strategy Conference this week, Ineos further detailed its plan to drill the Fat Canyon prospect.

Fat Canyon is an exciting prospect that sits on the Frøya High, the structural high that bounds the Halten Terrace in the northwest.

Location of Fenja field on the Halten Terrace. The Ineos well will probably be drilled just south of Fenja.

Ineos expects Fat Canyon to consist of a setting of pinching-out of Upper Jurassic sands that were shed into the basin westwards. As such, the key risk is probably reservoir presence, trapping and migration. If proven viable, this well will surely open up a new play in the area.

The target reservoir of Fat Canyon also constitutes the reservoir in the Fenja field, operated by Neptune. Recent appraisal drilling proved how difficult it is to predict and map the distribution of these Upper Jurassic sands.

NPD announced 25th licensing round

Yesterday, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) announced the 25th licensing round. In this round, 136 blocks/parts of blocks will be announced, 11 in the Norwegian Sea and 125 in the Barents Sea.

Leading up toward the application deadline, the NPD will be mapping the announced blocks in detail to obtain a better understanding of the geology. Awards are expected during the second quarter of 2021.

Ithaca intents to develop Abigail

As reported by Energy Voice earlier this week, Ithaca has applied for consent to develop the Abigail field close to its currently producing Stella field.  The development will include up to two production wells targeting the Andrew and Forties reservoirs. The field has recoverable reserves of between 3.9 – 8.3 MMboe, with an anticipated median recovery of 6.3 MMboe.

Have a good weekend,