RWE Dea commits to three UK gas projects

RWE Dea has hired the jackup Ensco 72 for exploration and development drilling in the UK southern North Sea.

Offshore staff

LONDON -- RWE Dea has hired the jackup Ensco 72 for exploration and development drilling in the UK southern North Sea.

Last week, the rig started work on the Airidh prospect in block 42/19a, close to the undeveloped Breagh gas field. According to RWE Dea UK Managing Director Rene Pawel, the well should take 33 days to reach its targeted depth, the main objective lying in Triassic Bunter sandstones.

Directly afterwards, the rig will transfer to nearby block 42/14 to drill Macanta, a deeper Carboniferous structure. Pavel, speaking at a briefing in London, estimated a 60-day duration for the well. The rig’s next assignment for RWE Dea will be a sidetrack into a Carboniferous Westphalian reservoir in the producing Cavendish gas field.

In tandem with the campaign to prove further gas in the Breagh area, a CGG Veritas vessel will acquire 195 sq km (75 sq mi) of 3D seismic over block 42/4. RWE Dea is also preparing a study program for blocks 43/7a and 43/6c to the east of Airidh – both were granted under the UK’s 25th offshore licensing round, but the formal award had been delayed until this year due to the government’s request for an environmental impact assessment.

RWE Dea is at work on two new operated development projects in the southern gas basin. Clipper South is a Rotliegendes gas field in blocks 48/9c, 19c, 20a and 20b, 60 km (37 mi) northeast of the Lincolnshire coast. Go-ahead for the $347-million scheme is pending approval from the company’s 50% co-venturer, Fairfield Energy.

Genesis Oil & Gas is handling front-end engineering design for the development, which will be based around a normally unattended platform with 1,700-metric ton (1,874-ton) topsides in 23 m (75 ft) water depth. Gas will be exported through a 15-km (9.3-mi), 12-in. (30.5-cm) pipeline connecting to the ConocoPhillips-operated LOGGS trunkline system.

The tight gas reservoir will produce via six horizontal, hydraulically fractured wells. Under the proposed first phase, three wells will be brought on stream at the end of 2011 at a rate of 80-90 MMcf/d, with two more added later on to maintain steady-state production.

Breagh is a $507-579 million project targeting what RWE Dea describes as one of the UK’s largest undeveloped resources (up to 13 bcm or 459 bcf of gas). Breagh is a conventional Carboniferous reservoir in blocks 42/8a and 42/13a, 65 km (40 mi) from the Yorkshire coast. RWE Dea has a 70% interest, the remainder held by Calgary-based Sterling Resources.

This field will also be developed in phases. The first involves a normally unmanned platform in 62 m (203 ft) of water on the western side of Breagh, with seven production wells exporting gas through a 100-km (62-mi) pipeline to a terminal on Teesside. First gas is targeted for late-summer 2012, with an initial production rate of up to 225 MMcf/d.

Phase II’s scope will depend on the results of Phase I, the current exploration program, and possible third-party tie-ins in the area. Here too, Genesis is responsible for the FEED for the offshore facilities and pipeline.

RWE Dea is also a partner in BP’s $724-million Devenick gas/condensate project in blocks 9/24b and 9/29a, 192 km (119 mi) southeast of Shetland in the northern UK North Sea. Devenick is an Upper Jurassic, high-pressure/high-temperature reservoir in a water depth of 114 m (374 ft).

Production will come from one existing subsea well and one new subsea producer, both tied back to a four-slot subsea manifold, which will in turn be linked to Marathon’s East Brae platform to the north via a 34-km (21-mi), 10-in. (25-cm) pipeline.

Development drilling should start later this year, with offshore installations in 2011 and first gas in summer 2012. RWE Dea anticipates production of 130 MMcf/d and 5,000 b/d of condensate.


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