DUBAI, UAE – RAK Petroleum has temporarily suspended drilling operations on the Saleh-5 well offshore Ras Al Khaimah.
This follows consultations with partner RAK Gas LLC which earlier this week exercised a 30% back-in option to the field redevelopment project by agreeing to pay its pro rata share of prior and future costs.
The Saleh field was first brought onstream by a previous operator in the mid-1980s. To date, 106 bcf of gas and 14 MMbbl of condensate have been produced from the Wasia reservoir via seven wells from six existing wellhead platforms.
Saleh has continued to produce small volumes of gas through an 18-in. (46-cm) pipeline to shore, although according to RAK Petroleum, the field’s proven Thamama reservoir remains largely untapped.
Early in July the Noble Roy Rhodes rig spud Saleh-5 as part of a multiple new well initiative by RAK Petroleum to redevelop the field. However, difficulties and delays arose while drilling through depleted zones in an attempt to reach the Thamama reservoir.
Additional technical studies will be conducted before resuming drilling operations. Whatever the outcome of this well, it should not affect RAK’s plans to re-enter, deepen, and test other wells.
Following suspension of Saleh-5, the Noble Roy Rhodes will relocate to the nearby RAK-operated Block 8 offshore Oman and to drill three more development wells.
The Saleh-5 wellbore will be left in a condition suitable for re-entry at a later date. The rig is available to return to Saleh at the end of this year, although RAK is scouting for an alternate rig to speed up the multi-well redevelopment program.
Total Saleh-5 drilling costs, including the suspension and rig move, are estimated at $35 million (RAK’s share is $24.5 million)
Under the contract terms, all drilling and other capital and operating costs can be recovered from revenues from Saleh or the adjacent RAK B field, which is also in line for development, before any tax and royalty payments are made to the state.
RAK is in discussions with an unnamed company that is prepared to pay 100% of the costs of a first exploration well on the Saleh license. In so doing, the company will earn partial rights to participate with RAK Petroleum and RAK Gas in the acreage surrounding but not including Saleh field.