Production stimulation measures under review for North Sea Breagh gas field

Production has been shut down at the Breagh facilities in the UK southern North Sea to remove fouling within the slug catchers and to replace level control instrumentation.

Offshore staff

CALGARY, Canada – Production has been shut down at the Breagh facilities in the UK southern North Sea to remove fouling within the slug catchers and to replace level control instrumentation, with a view to improving processing uptime at the onshore reception terminal in Teesside, northeast England.

PartnerSterling Resources expects the shutdown to be completed early next month.

Most planned Phase 1 drilling operations have been completed. Wells A01-A06 came online in late December, and gas sales from the Breagh field have since averaged 75 MMcf/d (2.1 MMcm/d).

The jackupEnsco 70 will return to the field at the end of April to complete well A07 using hydraulic fracture stimulation, followed by drilling and completion of well A08. The partners plan more development drilling of wells A09 and A10 from the Breagh Alpha platform in late-2015/early-2016 following this summer’s 3D seismic survey over the field.

They are examining how to extract the reserves more effectively by enhancing production rates through fracking and by drilling additional wells in both phases of development.

Due to Breagh’s large extent of roughly 80 sq km (31 sq mi) more offshore facilities will be needed, probably a second platform on the field’s eastern side. The partners are reviewing the facility’s size, well types, and the degree of stimulation that might be needed.

Results of the hydraulic fracture treatment on well A07 will be particularly important in these evaluations. The time required for the studies could push approval for Phase 2 into 2015, followed by start-up in 3Q 2017.

The TAQA-operatedCladhan development in northern UK North Sea block 210/29a is slightly behind schedule but within budget, with first production likely around the end of March 2015. Development drilling is expected to re-start later this month, with installation of the subsea pipelines and tieback to the host Tern platform set for this summer, followed by final modifications to the Tern platform from 3Q 2014 onward, finishing with the second compressor train (not needed for first production).

Initial production fromCladhan is estimated to be 17,000 b/d.

Last year Sterling’s UK exploration activity focused on acquisition and processing ofseismic surveys over the Lochran prospect near Breagh and re-processing of existing seismic datasets, including over the Niadar prospect in the southern North Sea. Niadar is close to infrastructure, and could be swiftly developed if next year’s planned exploration drilling proves successful.

Preparatory planning work was completed in 2013 for a well that Shell will start drilling later this year on the Beverley oil prospect in the central UK North Sea.

In December, Sterling was awarded 100% of several blocks close to the Breagh field under the UK’s 27th offshore licensing round. These contain the Ossian and Darach prospects. The company plans to farm-down and seek a carry for the firm well commitment to test both prospects. It will also apply for additional prospective acreage in the 28th round, due to close later this month with awards possible by the end of 2014.

In the Dutch North Sea, a 3D seismic survey is planned later this year over oil discoveries and prospects in the Jurassic and Early Cretaceous horizons in blocks F17a and F18 (Sterling 35%). Results should improve reservoir understanding and assist development studies.

OperatorWintershall’s F17-10 30-MMbbl oil discovery in late 2012 in the shallower, Late Cretaceous horizon could trigger a regional oil development hub. Sterling maintains first production is possible early in 2019.


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