Venture pursuing widespread production growth

Venture Production, currently the subject of an unwanted bid from Centrica, plans an active drilling campaign across its North Sea interests over the next 12 months.

Offshore staff

ABERDEEN -- Venture Production, currently the subject of an unwanted bid from Centrica, plans an active drilling campaign across its North Sea interests over the next 12 months.

Currently the jackup Noble Julie Robertson is drilling the Annabel East extension appraisal well for the company in the southern gas basin. Noble Scott Marks, a newly built heavy-duty jack-up, arrived recently in Rotterdam and will shortly start drilling the first of two second-phase development wells on the Chiswick field, close to the Dutch sector median line.

In the central North Sea, the semisub Noble Ton van Langeveld is about to spud an appraisal well on the Acorn oilfield.

By end-June, Venture’s production from 21 fields in the North Sea was averaging 52,988 boe/d, an increase of 16% on the figure for mid-2008. The company claims good facilities uptime and reservoir performance across all its production hubs.

Venture has other developments ongoing or in prospect, including Cygnus in the southern gas basin, operated by GdF Suez. Results from two appraisal wells this year exceeded expectations, and suggest recoverable reserves just for the field’s eastern section of 500 bcf.

The partnership plans a phased development that could involve up to six platforms and a total of 16 production wells. Phase I will entail a single normally unmanned installation in the central part of the field, with two production wells tied back to nearby infrastructure. Two further appraisal wells could be drilled on Cygnus’ western lobe during the first half of 2010.

In March, Venture completed a discovery well on the Carna prospect, and estimates net gas in place of 95-185 bcf. Productive reservoir sands indicate strong potential from five further exploration prospects in the Greater Carna area, which could hold cumulative reserves of 104-390 bcf.

Late this year or early next year, Venture plans to drill a well on the high-risk, high-reward prospect Morpheus, followed by another probe on Andromeda. Dutch utility Nuon has agreed to co-fund both wells under a farm-in arrangement.

In the Greater Markham Area on the UK/Dutch offshore border, a newly concluded subsurface study of the Chiswick field, which came on stream in 2007, has led Venture to upgrade recoverable reserves. A second development phase has been sanctioned, which could lead to drilling of up to five further wells, the first two from the Chiswick platform. Schlumberger’s stimulation vessel will provide support under Venture’s southern North Sea tight gas drilling program.

During 2008, Venture picked up operating interests in three gas discoveries in the north of the Dutch sector, one of which – F3-FA – is under development. Heerema is building the self-installed production platform at its yard in Vlissingen, with first gas due in winter 2010-22.

Elsewhere, Venture is considering drilling newly evaluated Tertiary exploration opportunities close to its Greater Kittiwake Area production hub in the central sector. It has also negotiated commercial terms for processing and transportation of production from the Halley oil field and the nearby Appleton field, which will lead to an appraisal well later this year.

08/20/2009

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