High success rate offsets UK drilling decline

Consultants Analysts Hannon Westwood have issued their 2009 UKCS North Sea Drilling Results ‘Analytical Report’.

Offshore staff

ABERDEEN -- Consultants Analysts Hannon Westwood have issued their 2009 UKCS North Sea Drilling Results ‘Analytical Report’.

Among the main findings, the total number of wells drilled on the UK shelf last year was 49, down markedly from the 77 wells recorded in 2008. However, 28 of last year’s wells were successful in appraising or finding additional technical reserves. This indicates a 68% success rate compared with 47% in 2008.

Volumes of appraised and new technical reserves in 2009 totalled 1,224 MMboe. When set against the UK’s production figure last year of 836 MMboe, this represents a 146% technical replacement rate.

The report identifies 41 new well spuds in 2009 of which 18 were appraisal wells and 23 were exploration wells. The estimated total spend was $1.25 billion.

There were 28 successes, comprising 14 appraisal wells with cumulative reserves estimated at 816 MMboe; and 14 exploration wells with cumulative potential of 408 MMboe. Activity was performed on 36 Traditional, 4 Promote and 1 Frontier-type offshore licenses.

Hannon Westwood says exploration finding costs ranged from $0.1 to $1.9/boe, while appraisal costs ranged from $0.3 to $5.3/boe.

Many of the rigs in action in the first half of the year had been contracted in the high price environment of 2008, the consultants add. They estimate per-well costs in 2009 were around 10% higher than in 2008. Towards year-end, rig rates became more `affordable, particularly in the southern gas basin.
Following a slow start to 2010, activity does appear to be picking up. Hannon Westwood identified 11 new wells spuds by the end of Q1 2010 and no sidetracks, compared with seven spuds and 10 sidetracks over the same period of 2009.

Executive Director Chris Bulley said: “With approximately 240 known forecast wells currently in various stages of planning for the period 2009 to 2015, there is still a substantial exploration resource to be tapped in the North Sea.” 


More in Regional Reports