Total proves gas, light oil in North Sea Isabella prospect

March 17, 2020
Total has discovered lean gas, condensate and light oil in the Isabella prospect in the UK central North Sea.

Offshore staff

PARIS – Total has discovered lean gas, condensate and light oil in the Isabella prospect in the UK central North Sea.

The jackup Noble Sam Hartley drilled the Isabella 30/12d-11 well on the P1820 license, 40 km (25 mi) south of the Total-operated Elgin-Franklin field and 170 km (195.6 mi) east of Aberdeen.

The well, drilled to a TD of 5,557 m (18,231 ft) in a water depth of 80 m (262 ft), encountered 64 m (219 ft) net pay in Upper Jurassic and Triassic sandstone reservoirs.

Analysis of the data and results are under way in order to assess the size of the resource and to determine the future appraisal program required to confirm commerciality.

Kevin McLachlan, svp Exploration at Total, said the initial results looked positive, adding that “this demonstrates that our exploration strategy in the North Sea to explore for value adding prospects nearby to our infrastructure is working.”

Jim House, CEO of license partner Neptune Energy, said: “The discovery of hydrocarbons in three separate formations is positive…”, while another partner, Ithaca Energy described the result as “an encouraging high-pressure/high-temperature [HP/HT] discovery in a location close to existing infrastructure.”

The well is currently being P&A’d.

Glenn Morrall of Wood Mackenzie’s upstream research team said: “Total has extended its recent period of exploration triumph.

“Non-operated success at Glengorm and operated success at Glendronach sees the company lead the table of net UK discovered resources in recent years. Isabella will strengthen its position at the top.

“But Isabella’s high-pressure/high-temperature nature will add complexity and cost to any development, and its progression is likely to be put on the backburner at current prices.”

However, the close proximity of nearby infrastructure means the discovery could be commercial if market optimism returns, Morrall suggested, adding that some HP/HT fields around the world are commercial at only 15 MMboe.

“The company’s experience in developing big HP/HT gas/condensate projects in UK waters, such as Elgin-Franklin and Culzean, will no doubt stand it in good stead.”