HOUSTON - Cobalt International Energy Inc. says that the Ensco 8503 drilling rig, contracted to Cobalt, has returned to the US Gulf of Mexico following a sublet of the rig to drill a well in French Guiana.
Cobalt received the required US Coast Guard Certificate of Compliance and has subsequently received application for permit to drill (APD) approval from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) for the Ligurian #2 exploratory well.
Cobalt says it plans to spud Ligurian #2 by year end. Ligurian is in the Southern Green Canyon Area adjacent to the 2009 Heidelberg discovery in which Cobalt is a part owner.
After drilling Ligurian #2, Cobalt plans to move the rig to the North Platte #1 well in the Garden Banks to drill that prospect.
Cobalt anticipates that each of the Ligurian #2 and North Platte #1 exploratory wells will take approximately six months to drill.
"Obtaining the approved APD for Ligurian #2 represents another significant milestone for Cobalt", said Van P. Whitfield, Cobalt's COO. "Ligurian #2 will be our first company-operated well drilled in the Gulf of Mexico since the deepwater drilling moratorium was enforced in May 2010. We are definitely excited about our return to drilling and are confident in our ability to drill this well safely. Additionally, we look forward to obtaining the additional permits required to drill and evaluate the multiple other significant prospects we have in our Gulf of Mexico portfolio."
Cobalt is the operator of the Ligurian #2 well in Green Canyon block 814, with a 45% working interest. Other working interest owners include Total E&P USA Inc. and Sonangol Exploration & Production International Ltd.